Denture wearers use denture adhesive every day to keep their dentures in place, and most never stop to think about the health risks. Using denture adhesive for holding dentures in place carries with it a serious health risk that few know about – the risk of denture cream poisoning. What is denture cream poisoning and how can denture wearers avoid it?
What is Denture Cream Poisoning?
Denture creams and adhesives such as Fixodent and Poligrip contain zinc. The body needs zinc in low doses for a healthy immune system, fertility, and for wound healing, but too much zinc decreases the absorption of copper – leading to a copper deficiency.
In addition to causing anemia and other symptoms, copper deficiency can cause irreversible nerve damage if it isn’t treated promptly. People who use large amounts of denture adhesive are at risk of a serious copper deficiency because of the zinc they contain.
Another Danger of Denture Adhesives: Nerve Damage
There are cases of permanent nerve damage from denture cream poisoning. Not only that, the copper deficiency that comes from too much zinc causes a decrease in the number of red and white blood cells in the blood stream, fatigue, nausea, a metallic taste in the mouth, and an increased susceptibility to infection – because copper is important for a healthy immune system. These symptoms are usually reversible once copper levels are restored to normal, but the nerve damage may be permanent.
Dental Adhesives for Holding Dentures – A Little Known Source of Toxicity
If you pick up a container of dental adhesive for dentures and read the label, you may not find the ingredients listed. This is because the FDA doesn’t require dental cream makers to list them. Rest assured – most denture adhesives contain zinc that can be absorbed through the gums and skin. The federal government is now considering adding black box warnings to dental creams and adhesives to reduce the risk of denture cream poisoning.
What Can You Do to Prevent Denture Cream Poisoning?
Use as little dental adhesive as possible – and make sure your dentures fit snuggly, so you need less dental adhesive for holding them in place. Even better? Use a denture cream that’s zinc-free. You can find a list of such dental adhesives at zincfreedentureadhesives.com.
Medscape.com. “Neuropathy Following Chronic Use of Denture Adhesive in 40-Year-Old Patient: Possible Answers”