Denture cream poisoning occurs when individuals experience nerve damage as a result of using large amounts of denture cream containing zinc. Zinc poisoning from denture cream generally affects individuals who have poorly fitting dentures and overuse denture cream in an effort to make their dentures fit better.
Using large amounts of zinc-containing denture creams causes zinc levels in the body to become too high and copper levels to become too low. This results in bone marrow suppression and spinal cord degeneration, leading to symptoms such as a spastic gait, problems walking, and weakness and numbness in the arms and legs. In more serious cases, patients may require a wheelchair, walker or cane. Zinc overdose may also cause death.
Recommendations state that a 2.4-ounce tube of denture cream should last the average user approximately six to eight weeks. Individuals who experience zinc poisoning related to denture cream use may use two or three tubes each week. A person who uses a normal amount of denture cream every day generally takes in less zinc from the denture cream than they do from dietary sources or taking multivitamins. Speaking to a dentist is advised if a patient is concerned about his denture cream use.