Are Denture Adhesives Safe??

Yes and no.  There is no question that adhesive creams are widely used by denture wearers to help stabilize and secure loose dentures by millions of people.  When teeth are removed and replaced with dentures, the bone that surrounded the tooth goes away and over time results in loosened dentures.   Adhesives help minimize the problems with loose fit by basically gluing the denture to the gum tissue.

Used as directed these materials are quite helpful.  However, they have a downside.  Some can alter taste, they are really messy and recently some have been linked to some serious side effects.  A report in the Journal of Neurology from The University of Texas S.W. Medical Center in Dallas described cases of peripheral neuropathy in denture wearers who were using excessive amounts of the stuff which contains the mineral zinc. The recommended daily intake of zinc is 8-10mg.  These people were consuming more than thirty times that level.  Normally a tube of adhesive should last three to ten weeks if used as directed.  These individuals were going through more than two tubes a week!

Symptoms of neuropathy include numbness in the hands and feet, tingling or pain, loss of some coordination and even some paralysis all due to an ion imbalance in the nervous system caused by toxic levels of zinc.  It is unclear whether the zinc is simply being ingested with the excess adhesive or is being absorbed by the gum tissue, or both.

Procter & Gamble first added it to their product Fixodent in 1990, followed by Block Drugs and GSK in 1996 who produce Super Polygrip.  Both products have been implicated in this problem.  The report appeared in 2008 and the U.S. lawyers pounced on it in 2009 with some huge lawsuits now coming down the pipe.  Unfortunately, zinc is not required to be listed as an ingredient in denture creams although the manufacturers have now begun pulling the zinc from their formulas.

In any event, if you are fed up with denture goo, consider an investment in implants to solve the problem and secure your teeth.

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9 responses

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