Denture adhesive is at best a nuisance. It’s a sticky mess, and it never seems to work to really hold your dentures in place.

However, it’s important that you not give in to the temptation to use more. It won’t help, and, as one man in the UK recently found out–it can cause a lot of harm. If you use too much denture adhesive, you may end up with serious nerve damage. The ideal is to get dentures that can be secure without adhesive, rather than trying to rely on it to secure your dentures.

hands of man in wheelchair

How Denture Adhesive Leads to Nerve Damage

Denture cream isn’t really an adhesive like Gorilla Glue. It’s more like a mildly sticky substance that works by helping to create a better seal under your dentures. This creates a stronger vacuum under the dentures, which is what really holds them in place.

The ingredient in denture adhesive that causes nerve damage is zinc. You’re probably thinking: how can zinc cause nerve damage, it’s a vital nutrient? But like many ingredients, it’s the dose that makes the poison. At recommended doses, zinc is very good for you, but if you exceed recommended doses, it can be dangerous, even deadly.

When your body detects the presence of excess zinc, it begins creating more of a protein that is supposed to bind with the zinc so the body can eliminate it more easily. The only problem is that this protein is actually more likely to bind to copper. So while the body is trying to eliminate zinc, it’s really eliminating copper, which may not have been at high or even normal levels before. The result is a copper deficiency. Copper deficiency can lead to neurological symptoms and anemia.

A Mechanic Gets Disabled

In this case, the victim is a 62-year-old man who was a mechanic who worked until just 14 months ago. He started having instability on his feet, and he reported experienced loss of feeling in his limbs, muscle weakness, and pain in his limbs. He didn’t think the problem was serious, however, until it reached the point where he was housebound. Then he sought treatment at a local hospital.

When they heard his symptoms, they performed an MRI and detected his nerve damage. Blood tests revealed his copper deficiency. Doctors asked about the use of denture cream. As a denture wearer for more than 15 years, he regularly used excessive amounts of denture cream, about 2-4 tubes per week he said.

Doctors told him to stop using the adhesive, and his condition as improved, although he remains wheelchair bound. It is unknown how much of his nerve damage is permanent and how much function he will recover.

The man never lost the use of his hands.

Proper Use of Denture Adhesive

If you have traditional dentures, it’s typical to use some amount of adhesive, but it’s important to make sure you’re not using too much. It only takes a small amount of adhesive to function, and more is not likely to improve the effect. The proper amount of adhesive is three or four dabs of adhesive about the size of a pea on the upper denture. Distribute these evenly over the entire plate. For the lower denture, use just three dabs, spaced regularly through the denture.

How do you know if you have too much? If biting down causes adhesive to ooze out of your denture, you have too much.

And if adhesive seems to not be helping as much as it used to, don’t use more adhesive: get your dentures refitted.

Not All Dentures Need Adhesive

On the other hand, if you’re tired of relying on denture adhesive, there are also other options.

FOY ® Dentures are designed to fit so tightly that you won’t need any adhesive. Instead, you can enjoy tight fitting and highly functional dentures without the slimy feel of adhesive.

Implant dentures can also help you eliminate the need for denture adhesive. Dental implants are attached in your jawbone, similar to your natural teeth. Dentures can be attached to implants, making dentures secure and functional.

These two solutions can be combined for maximum function.

Please contact your local FOY ® Dentures dentist today to learn how you can be free from denture adhesive forever.