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What are the dangers of denture creams?

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Quick Answer

The primary danger of dental cream use is a buildup of zinc in the body. An excess of zinc can lead to health problems such as nerve damage, especially in the hands and feet.

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Full Answer

Zinc is a mineral and an essential ingredient to maintaining good health. It is found in protein-rich foods such as shellfish, beef, chicken and nuts. Some denture adhesives contain zinc to enhance adhesion to the gums. Overuse of zinc-containing denture adhesives, especially when combined with other sources of zinc, can contribute to an excess of the mineral in the body. The excess zinc causes a drop in the amount of copper in the blood, which leads to brain and blood disorders. The nerve damage from overuse of an adhesive product appears slowly, over an extended period of time.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cites cases of people who used at least two tubes of zinc-containing denture adhesive each week reporting symptoms of nerve damage. Product instructions state that one tube should last seven to eight weeks. Denture wearers who have difficulty determining the proper amount of denture adhesive to use should contact a health care professional before using the product and not use more than is recommended.

In 2011, the FDA sent a notice to denture cream manufacturers asking that they consider removing zinc from their product and modifying their labeling to indicate whether the product contains zinc and, if so, how much can be used safely.

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