A recent study suggests that excessive use of denture creams, such as Poligrip and Super-Poligrip, may cause several serious denture cream side effects. The study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and published in the August 2008 edition of Neurology, reported on four denture-wearing patients who developed neurological symptoms. After ruling out other possible causes, researchers in the study concluded that zinc contained in denture cream may have been causing the patients’ health problems.

What Types of Health Problems Can Poligrip Cause?

Denture wearers may absorb the zinc contained in Poligrip and other denture creams through their gums, which may lead to zinc poisoning, also known as zinc toxicity or denture cream hyperzincemia. Because excess zinc in the blood can inhibit the body’s ability to absorb copper, zinc poisoning from Poligrip can lead to copper depletion or denture cream hypocumpremia. Without prompt treatment, zinc poisoning and copper depletion can cause serious and even life-threatening nerve damage, including a debilitating nerve disorder called neuropathy. 

What are the Symptoms of Poligrip Health Problems?

Symptoms of zinc poisoning and neuropathy from Poligrip use may include:

  • weakness
  • loss of sensation in the hands, feet, arms, or legs
  • pain and tingling in the extremities
  • numbness

How are Poligrip Health Problems Diagnosed?

Simple blood tests for zinc and copper levels can determine whether someone is suffering from zinc poisoning and/or copper deficiency. Neuropathy, however, may be more difficult to diagnose because it isn’t a single disease, but rather a symptom of numerous potential causes. To diagnose neuropathy, a doctor will typically perform a full physical and neurological exam. A doctor may also request blood tests, a urinalysis, thyroid function tests and electromyography (a test that measures the electrical discharges produced in your muscles). 

What Treatments are available for Health Problems Caused by Poligrip?

If a doctor determines that zinc contained in Poligrip or another brand of denture cream is contributing to a patient’s health problems, treatment will probably include switching to a brand of denture cream that doesn’t contain zinc. Additionally, copper supplements will most likely be prescribed for patients with copper deficiency. Patients with neuropathy may also be prescribed pain relievers, antidepressants, and/or anti-seizure medications. Unfortunately, studies suggest that health problems caused by Poligrip and other denture creams may not always be curable.

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Published November 17, 2011 by