Stories have been appearing in the media following Good morning America’s story and recent television commercials seeking plaintiffs for a potential lawsuit against the manufacterers of the products Fixodent and Poli-Grip denture creams. This media attention as been based on a fairly recent case report in Neurology, entitled, Denture Cream: An Unusual Source of Excess Zinc, Leading to Hypocupremia and Neurologic Disease. Essentially, if the plaintiff’s file suit, they will claim the zinc in the denture creams caused a copper insuffiency induced neuropathy.
The case report in Neurology, reviewed case histories of four denture wearing patients with neurological problems, and the individuals reported that they had used two or more tubes of denture cream a week for years, eventhough the manufacturers’ directions indicate a single tube should last up to 10 weeks. These cases involved the excessive use or misuse of denture creams on a chronic basis.
The ADA (American Dental Association) issued the following statement: “(The ADA is) not aware of any reports of neurological problems resulting from use of a denture cream following the manufacturer’s instructions, nor indeed of any other reports of neurological or other health problems related to the use of denture cream products under any conditions.
To date, the FDA has not issued any advisory to the public or the profession on this issue. The FDA does not classify denture adhesives as medicines, and are considered a medical device for use in conjunction with dentures.
Zinc is an essential mineral, and naturally present in many protein rich foods such as beef, chicken and nuts as well as in many supplements and over the counter products. The zinc is used to improve the adhesive strenght of the product. Some manufacturers offer a zinc free option, such as Super Poligrip™ Free denture adhesive.
When zinc containing creams are used as directed, the amount of zinc that might be swallowed is small and is not harmful. Patients should not use denture adhesive to compensate for a poor fitting denture, and should see there dentist regulary to ensure properly fitting dentures.