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Recent Removal of some Denture Creams from Market

Approximately 1 out of every 10 denture wearers uses a denture cream or adhesive. Many of these products contain zinc to help improve their holding power. Recent case reports in people who have used excessive amounts of denture creams containing zinc for long periods of time are showing an increased risk of zinc toxicity. Zinc toxicity can present itself as numbness, tiredness, weakness, difficulty with balance or walking, or anemia. Due to this hazardous potential many manufacturers have removed the zinc-containing denture adhesives from the market and replaced them with zinc-free versions.

The manufacturer of Poligrip has voluntarily changed their products to now contain zinc-free versions. When shopping for a denture adhesive look for the packaging to say zinc-free. If it does not say zinc-free then it still may have zinc in the product. Because the FDA considers denture adhesives to be a medical device, manufacturers do not have to list every ingredient that the product contains. For example, Fixodent has one zinc-free formulation. The other products made by Fixodent contain less than 4% zinc, which is nearly half of what the old Poligrip products contained.

If you have been using a denture cream that contains zinc there is no need to worry as long as you have been using it according to the package directions. Realistically, one 68 gram tube should last 8 to 10 weeks. Dr. McCargar at Scottsdale Dental Arts recommends “dabbing a small amount of cream onto the denture to avoid oozing. You should only apply the adhesive once per day. A good rule of thumb to assure that you are not applying too much is the amount that is squeezed out of the tube should not be longer than the distance between the second joint in your finger and your fingertip.” If your denture does not fit properly and you find yourself using more than this amount, then consult with your dentist about getting it properly adjusted. If you continue to use excessive amounts of denture cream containing zinc it is possible to experience the symptoms of zinc toxicity in which case you should contact your doctor right away.

So my gums bleed a little, is it really that serious?

Do you think it is ok if your hands bleed when you wash them? Of course not, so why do you think it is ok if your gums bleed when you brush or floss. If your gums bleed when you brush or floss, it is serious. Bleeding allows bacteria and their toxins to easily pass into your body. Bacteria in your blood stream can make you sick.

Your gums are not bleeding because you are brushing or flossing to hard either. Healthy gums do not bleed when they come into contact with floss or with the bristles of a tooth brush. The bleeding is caused because the body is making additional capillaries. The capillaries are forming near to the surface of the gums because oxygen molecules are having a difficult time reaching the cells deeper within the gums. The cells within the gums are not getting enough oxygen because of swelling. The swelling of the gums is due to an immune response trying to kill bacteria that is dumping waste. The bacteria is attached to plaque located on your teeth. Your gums are bleeding because of bacteria inside of your mouth.

Dr. McCargar, a Scottsdale Family Dentist says “After reading this article, I hope that the next time you see blood in the sink, you will know that it is serious. Contact your dentist for an appointment. Clinical studies show that people with gum infections (periodontitis) have an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic inflammatory conditions.” (See our blog article from 07/21/2009: The Link between Dental Care and Diabetes)