Denture Cream Study Sees Zinc Poisoning Risk

A new scientific paper is adding to the accumulating evidence that zinc-containing denture creams like <"">Fixodent can cause severe neurological injuries if they are used to excess. The study, a review of available scientific literature conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland, concluded that these denture cream zinc poisoning risks “should be a matter of concern for all dentists caring for denture patients. … Dentists should admonish their patients to limit their use of denture adhesives in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions.”

The review found cases in which patients have been exposed to as much as 200 times the recommended daily allowance of zinc because of denture cream overuse. In some of the cases, it appeared that some people were using excessive amounts of products like Fixodent to cope with poorly fitting dentures.

Dr. Nasir Bashirelahi is a professor at the University of Maryland Dental School and a co-author of the paper told the Baltimore Sun that people should think twice about using zinc-containing denture creams.

“As far as dental adhesives, definitely you should not use the one that has a zinc base in it,” Bashirelahi said. “And the manufacturers are now making one without zinc.”

One dentist interviewed by the Sun said he always tells his patients that products like Fixodent shouldn’t be used as a solution to ill-fitting dentures, and “should never be used on a long-term basis.” He said he also advises against t the use of such products because they may increase the incidence of intra-oral fungal infection

Zinc toxicity symptoms may include numbness or tingling in the hands and feet or balance problems. May dentists are now asking patients who wear dentures whether they experience such problems, and they usually ask about their use of denture cream, the Sun said.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has not issued a consumer warning regarding the risk of zinc poisoning from Fixodent and other dentures creams. However, in a February 23 letter to denture cream makers, the FDA recommended that they take actions to mitigate the risks of denture cream zinc poisoning, including possibly replacing zinc with a safer ingredient.

As we’ve reported previously, one denture cream manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, moved over a year ago to remove zinc from three of its Super Poligrip products, citing reports of neurological injuries possibly associated to excessive exposure to zinc in the denture creams. The products have since been reformulated to be zinc-free.

Procter & Gamble, the maker of Fixodent, did alter its label last year to include a caution about overuse of the product. But Fixodent is still made with zinc.

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