gloved hand holding dentureThere is some controversy about the use of denture adhesive, also called denture cream. According to the American College of Prosthodontists (ACP), a professional organization of dentists trained to manufacture dentures and other dental prostheses, the best use of denture adhesive is to use none. They say that in properly fitting dentures, no denture adhesive is necessary.

However, according to recently published denture care recommendations in the Journal of the American Dental Association, a small amount of denture adhesive can be beneficial even in properly-fitting dentures because it increases stability and creates a seal that prevents food particles and bacteria from getting under the denture.

Applying Denture Adhesive Cream

Most people use denture adhesive cream. For the upper denture, use three or four dabs of denture cream about the size of a pencil eraser. These should be placed in the middle of the plate, the part that contacts your upper palate. For the lower denture, use just three dabs distributed evenly through the curve of the denture.

Never fill up your denture or try to cover the entire surface with denture cream. If denture cream oozes out when you bite down on your denture, you have used too much.

Additional adhesive generally doesn’t improve the fit. In fact, it can make it worse. If you are unhappy with the security of your dentures with this amount of denture adhesive, you likely should have your dentures adjusted or replaced.

Applying Denture Adhesive Powder

With denture adhesive powder, you should leave your denture wet after cleaning it. Make sure you rinse your mouth to clean it, too. Then sprinkle powder into the denture gently–you want good, even coverage but it shouldn’t be excessive. Once you’ve sprinkled the powder, shake the denture to remove any excess powder. Then insert your denture and bite down to get the adhesive to stick.

Applying Denture Adhesive Strips

Denture adhesive strips come in two types. One type is designed to fully fit into the denture with a single piece. For either type, you should start with clean, dry dentures. With the single-piece type, lay the strip into the denture. Make sure the strip is oriented so the proper side is adjacent to the denture. Then trim away any excess. Place the denture in your mouth and bite down.

With smaller denture strips, you might need three or four pieces to secure your denture. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to find the proper amount for your denture. Make sure the strips are oriented properly before you insert them. Once they are in place, bite down to press the denture adhesive into place.

Problems with Denture Adhesive

Beginning in 2009, a number of people came forward with lawsuits about potential health effects associated with denture adhesive. These lawsuits were related to hyperzincuria, essentially zinc poisoning that can cause neurological damage. Denture creams often contain small amounts of zinc, which is fine in certain doses, but could become hazardous when people used too much adhesive. In many of the cases, people used very large doses of denture adhesive, leading to the problem. A recent case drives this home: a man who overused denture adhesive experienced severe paralysis and can no longer leave his house without assistance. People who use the recommended amount of denture adhesive are at a very low risk of hyperzincuria.

However, a more common problem can be gum irritation associated with denture adhesive. You should never wear your dentures overnight (except for the brief breaking-in period), but it’s especially important to remove and clean your dentures if you use denture cream.

If you are looking for dentures that fit properly and don’t need denture adhesive, FOY® Dentures are designed to give a better fit than traditional dentures. To learn whether they’re right for you, contact a local dentist who has been trained to design them.