Are Denture Adhesives Safe?

Denture adhesive has long been used profusely to secure loose fitting prostheses.

In addition to the bad taste and uncomfortable feeling the pasty substance produces, the safety of denture adhesive is now in question.

Most denture adhesives contain zinc, which can cause serious neurological problems. 

Zinc is a mineral, which the body requires, in small amounts to maintain health.  The body uses zinc-containing enzymes to regulate growth, promote fertility, and to aid in digestion.  Zinc is also needed for nucleic acid synthesis. This means that the body requires zinc in the tissues where new cell development takes place such as the bone marrow, immune cells and the lining of the gut or intestinal tract.

When zinc is consumed in large amounts, zinc poisoning can occur.  This condition depletes the minerals copper and iron and can result in neuropathy.  Symptoms of neuropathy include numbness and tingling in the extremities, unexplained pain, diminished ability to move arms, legs, hands and feet as well as poor balance and diminished gait.  Fatigue is also common. If left untreated, the condition can lead to permanent disability and even death.

Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas linked the use of denture adhesive cream to patients with symptoms of neuropathy, copper depletion, and zinc toxicity.  The problems these patients experienced were acute when large amounts of the adhesive were used.

Patients in the study were found to be using at least two tubes a week.

While attorneys are investigating denture cream lawsuits including Fixodent, Poligrip and Super Poligrip, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) has stated that, “Zinc-containing denture adhesive products have been cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for safe and effective use, and CHPA member companies that make them comply with all federal regulations and laws concerning their manufacture, composition and labeling.” They also state that, “While safe, it is important for consumers to follow labeling instructions.

Patients who use denture adhesive should determine the quantity of denture adhesive they use and determine if they are using more than advised.  They should have regular dental checkups and denture relines to help reduce denture adhesive use.  If the patient is unclear about the amount of adhesive to use after reading the product label, their dentist can help them to determine the correct amount. 

This issue adds to the body of evidence that shows removable dentures are an option to be avoided, if possible.  Dental implants should be considered for patients who wish to discontinue use of denture adhesives. 

Many denture adhesive companies make adhesives with and without zinc.

Brand Names of Products with Zinc
-----------------------------------------------------------
Super Poligrip Original
Super Poligrip Ultra Fresh
Super Poligrip Extra Care
Fixodent Original
Fixodent Fresh
Fixodent Control
Fixodent Complete
Fixodent Comfort
Fixodent Control Plus Scope Flavor
Super-Haftcreme Extra Stark

Products without Zinc
-----------------------------------------------------------
Super Poligrip Free
Super Poligrip Comfort Seal Strips
Super Poligrip Powder
Protefix Adhesive Cream, Extra-Strong
Fittydent Super Adehesive Cream

__________________________________________________________________
Denture cream: an unusual source of excess zinc, leading to hypocupremia and neurologic disease. Nations SP, Boyer PJ, Love LA, Burritt MF, Butz JA, Wolfe GI, Hynan LS, Reisch J, Trivedi JR, Neurology. 2008 Aug 26;71(9):639-43.

When metals compete: a case of copper-deficiency myeloneuropathy and anemia.  Spain RI, Leist TP, De Sousa EA. Nat Clin Pract Neurol. 2009 Feb;5(2):106-11.

Eric Chaffin, Esq., Bernstein Liebhard LLP(Bio information: http://www.bernlieb.com/attorneys/Eric-T-Chaffin/index.html)

Neuropathy Following Chronic Use of Denture Adhesive in a 40-Year Old Patient.  Michael F. Neerman, PhD; Kathleen Kiefhaber, BSN, RN; Richard D. Barrera, MD. Lab Med (2007) 38(10): 608-609.

Hyperzincemia from ingestion of denture adhesives. Tezvergil-Mutluay A, Carvalho R,Pashley D, J Prosthet Dent 2010;103:380-383.

New Information About Denture Adhesives - March 2011

More About Zinc

ASK A DENTAL QUESTION