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Denture adhesives - do they work?

The main reasons for using denture adhesives are to improve fit, comfort, chewing ability, and patient confidence.

Denture adhesives are pastes, powders or adhesive pads that may be placed in/on dentures to help them stay in place.

In most cases, properly fitted and maintained dentures should not require the use of denture adhesives, however a randomised study proved that denture adhesives significantly improve patients bite force by up to 38% vs. no adhesive in well fitting, complete dentures. (Ref: Munoz C,2011) Also reduce food entrapment, adhesive could seal out up to 74% more food. (Ref: Fernandez P ,2011 )

Over time, shrinkage in the bone structure in the mouth causes dentures to gradually become loose. When this occurs, the dentures should be relined or new dentures made that fit the mouth properly. Denture adhesives fill gaps caused by shrinking bone and give temporary relief from loosening dentures.

Zinc and Potential Risk

Sometimes denture adhesives contain zinc to enhance adhesion.

Zinc is a mineral that is an essential ingredient for good health. It is found in protein-rich foods such as shellfish, beef, chicken and nuts, as well as in some dietary supplements.

However, an excess of zinc in the body can lead to health problems such as nerve damage, especially in the hands and feet. This damage appears slowly, over an extended period of time.

Overuse of zinc-containing denture adhesives, especially when combined with dietary supplements that contain zinc and other sources of zinc, can contribute to an excess of zinc in your body.

Know that manufacturers may not always list their product ingredients.

How much is not too much?

Denture wearers may have difficulty determining the proper amount of denture adhesive to use if the instructions are not clear. If a denture wearer is uncertain about how much to use, he or she should contact a dental health professional to help determine the correct amount.

Denture wearers should know that a large amount of denture adhesive will not necessarily address problems with ill-fitting dentures, and prolonged use of ill-fitting dentures may lead to an increase in bone loss.

Do not use more adhesive than recommended.

Stop using the denture adhesive and consult your physician if you experience symptoms such as numbness or tingling sensations in the extremities.

Start with a small amount of adhesive - if the adhesive oozes off the denture into your mouth, you are likely using too much adhesive.

Know that a 2.4-ounce tube of denture adhesive used by a consumer with upper and lower dentures should last seven to eight weeks.

Track how much denture adhesive you use by marking on a calendar when you started a new tube, and when the tube is empty.

Consider speaking to your denture clinician to see that your dentures fit properly. Dentures can become ill-fitting as a person's gums change over time.

The poorer the fit of your denture, the less well a denture adhesive will work. This is because adhesives work better when they are THIN. You get the thinnest layer if your denture is a good fit to start with!

As your denture gets older and your gums change shape, you start to get spaces and gaps under the denture. Using a denture adhesive in this situation may help a bit, but the bigger the gaps, the less well it works. And the more adhesive you need. Even the best denture adhesive will not work as well as it could.

Instead of spending more money by using greater and greater amounts of denture adhesive, you would be much better off having your denture relined or getting a new set of dentures that fit well. Then you can use a really THIN smear of an adhesive, and your dentures will be stable, secure and comfortable.

So remember; the best denture adhesive is always a VERY THIN LAYER of your favourite product!

The following products available in New Zealand from major supermarkets and pharmacist : Polident 3D, Poligrip, Fixodent, Holdtite, Secure, Fittydent, Seabond.

Further information on how to use a product, visit:

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