American Dental Association Statement on Zinc in Denture Cream
March 14, 2011
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CHICAGO, March 10, 2011—Millions of people use denture cream (also known as denture adhesive). Some, but not all, denture creams contain zinc. Recent case reports in the scientific literature indicate a possible association between excessive use of zinc-containing denture creams and neurological and hematological problems.
In each situation, the patients had ill-fitting dentures and reported using excessive amounts of denture cream with zinc for years. These individuals reported using two or more tubes of denture cream per week for years. The authors theorize that the patients swallowed excess denture cream exposing them to excessive amounts of zinc over a period of years. It is well documented that swallowing excessive amounts of zinc can raise blood levels of zinc which can lead to lower blood levels of copper. The lower blood level of copper can then lead to brain and blood disorders.
These case reports do not establish a cause and effect relationship, however on Feb. 23, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent a notice to dental cream manufacturers with recommendations that included giving consideration to removing the zinc from their denture creams and modifying their product labeling to indicate if the product contains zinc and how much of the product can be used safely. The notice states that the FDA has received "numerous reports of adverse events related to the use of denture creams" consistent with zinc toxicity.
In 2010, Glaxo Smith Kline, a major manufacturer of denture cream, voluntarily decided, as a precautionary measure, to stop using zinc in the following denture cream brands: Super Poligrip Original, Super Poligrip Ultra Fresh and Super Poligrip Extra Care.
The ADA advises denture wearers to see their dentist if their dentures do not fit well or if they have questions about the use of denture cream. Denture cream can help provide additional adhesion for well-fitting dentures, but is not the solution for ill-fitting dentures. A poorly fitting denture, which causes constant irritation over a long period, may contribute to the development of sores. These dentures may need a refitting or need to be replaced. If your dentures begin to feel loose, or cause pronounced discomfort, consult with your dentist immediately. Dental examinations and appropriate care can reduce the need for denture adhesive products.
Regular dental checkups are important for everyone, including denture wearers. The ADA's Council on Scientific Affairs will continue to monitor this issue on behalf of our member dentists and the patients they serve.
About the ADA
The not-for-profit ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing 161,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA's state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA's flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit ADA.org. For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA's consumer website MouthHealthy.org