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Could Your Denture Adhesive Be Putting You at Risk?

Denture adhesives are often used to help dentures stay in place, particularly if they are loose or ill fitting. However, as San Diego medical device attorneys, we are concerned that the zinc contained in these products may pose a risk to some wearers.

Although zinc is an essential ingredient for good health, excess zinc in the body can lead to health problems such as nerve damage, especially in the hands and feet. This damage is not immediate, but appears slowly, over an extended period of time.

The Potential Risks of Denture Adhesives Containing Zinc

According to the FDA, overuse of zinc-containing denture adhesives, especially when combined with dietary supplements that contain zinc and other sources of zinc, can contribute to an excess of zinc in your body.

Specifically, the FDA cites case reports in the medical literature linking negative reactions such as nerve damage, numbness, or tingling sensations from denture adhesives that contain zinc to chronic overuse of the products.

The FDA has also received reports of adverse events linked to use of denture adhesives, although the FDA has not found conclusive evidence that these problems resulted from using zinc-containing denture adhesive as instructed in the product labeling.

To help address the potential risk that overuse of zinc-containing denture adhesives may pose, the FDA asked makers of zinc-containing denture adhesives to consider:

  • Including directions that will prevent overuse if zinc is an ingredient. (Some companies include graphics of the amount of adhesive to use or the amount of time that a tube should last under correct usage.)
  • Modifying the labeling to specify that the product contains zinc as an ingredient, if appropriate and consider replacing zinc with an ingredient that presents less health risks in situations of overuse.

Meanwhile, manufacturers, importers and distributors of denture adhesives are already required by the FDA to register their facilities, list their products, and report adverse events. In addition, they are required to adhere to other general regulatory controls such as good manufacturing practice and adequate directions for use or a clear definition of an unsafe dosage or methods or duration of application.

Advice for Denture Wearers

The FDA recommends that consumers of denture adhesive products:

  • Follow the instructions provided with the denture adhesive. If the product does not come with instructions or the instructions are unclear, consult with a dental professional.
  • Do not use more adhesive than recommended.
  • Understand that some denture adhesives contain zinc, and that although they are safe to use in moderation as directed, if overused, they could contribute to harmful effects if over-used.
  • Know that manufacturers may not always list their product ingredients.
  • Know that there are zinc-free denture adhesives products.
  • Stop using the denture adhesive and consult your physician if you experience symptoms such as numbness or tingling sensations in the extremities.