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Neuropathy, Neurological Problems Linked to Zinc in Denture Creams

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Denture cream poisoning is rare ailment linked to excessive exposure to zinc in products like Poligrip and  Fixodent.

About 35 million Americans wear dentures. Unfortunately, most don’t realize that using too much denture cream can be dangerous. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) does not require denture adhesive cream manufacturers to include warnings about the problem on their labels.  In fact, the FDA does not even require that denture cream labels list  ingredients.

Currently, 25 denture cream poisoning lawsuits are pending in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida.  The lawsuits allege that the  zinc in products like Poligrip and Fixodent caused plaintiffs to suffer a serious copper deficiency which in turn led to neurological problems.  The lawsuits  also claim that the makers of these products did not provide adequate warnings about their potential dangers and that no corrective steps were taken.  It is likely that more denture cream lawsuits will be filed in the coming weeks and months.
Denture creams like Fixodent and Poligrip contain zinc as a bonding agent. People who ingest too much zinc run the risk of copper depletion. That condition can lead to neurological symptoms, including numbness and tingling in hands and feet, balance and coordination problems, and pain and weakness in the extremities. When it is really severe, the nerve damage caused by denture cream zinc poisoning can eventually lead to neuropathy, a debilitating disorder.

In 2008, the journal Neurology published a study that found a link between zinc-containing denture creams and neuropathy.  The study involved four neuropathy patients who, according to researchers at the University of Texas, used an average of two tubes of denture adhesive every week. Normal blood levels of copper range from 0.75 to 1.45 micrograms per milliliter (mL), but levels for the patients in the report ranged from less than 0.1 to 0.23 micrograms per mL. The top normal number for zinc blood levels is 1.10 micrograms per mL, but patients had levels ranging from 1.36 to 4.28 micrograms per mL.  The researchers conducting the study concluded that the subjects’ use of denture cream could have caused their symptoms, and called for further study.

It is vital that anyone who uses zinc denture creams like Poligrip or Fixodent be aware of the dangers posed by these products.  Often the symptoms of denture cream zinc poisoning mimic other neurological diseases, such as Multiple Sclerosis.  Denture cream users who experience numbness and tingling in their arms and legs, balance and movement problems, or any other neurological symptoms should ask their doctor to run blood tests to determine zinc an copper levels in order e to rule out or confirm denture cream  poisoning.

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