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ADA Issues Statement on Zinc in Denture Creams

Mar 2, 2010 | Parker Waichman LLP

The American Dental Association (ADA) has weighed in on the controversy surrounding  zinc-containing denture creams. In a  statement issued February 19, the ADA said case reports in the scientific literature indicate a possible association between excessive use of zinc-containing denture creams and neurological and hematological problems.  The organization said it would continue to monitor the issue.

The ADA advised denture wearers to see their dentists if their dentures do not fit well, as studies indicate that the problems are linked particularly to patients who have ill-fitting dentures and use excessive amounts of denture cream with zinc. The statement pointed out that regular dental examinations and appropriate care can reduce the need for denture adhesive products. The ADA also said it will continue to monitor the issue of zinc in denture creams.

The ADA statement was released just after GlaxoSmithKline announced it would voluntarily stop the manufacture, distribution and advertising of Super PoliGrip denture creams that contain zinc. In a letter to dentists dated February 18, GlaxoSmithKline acknowledged that in 2009 it received an increased number of adverse event reports describing the development of neurological symptoms, myeloneuropathy and blood dyscrasias. According to the letter, those reports, together with the published literature, suggest that excessive use of zinc-containing denture creams may lead to the development of excessive levels of zinc in the blood, associated with copper deficiency.

The letter said that as a precautionary measure, GlaxoSmithKline would stop manufacturing, marketing and advertising Super PoliGrip products made with zinc. Those products – Super PoliGrip ‘Original’, ‘Ultra Fresh’ and ‘Extra Care’ – will be reformulated, with new zinc free varieties expected to be available this spring. In spite of this action, none of these products is being recalled and those currently in stores are still available for sale.

Procter & Gamble, the maker of Fixodent, the other zinc-containing denture cream on the market, has not indicated any plans to reformulate their products.

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