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Denture adhesives - a sticky situation

Any discussion of the pros and cons, dos and don’ts of denture adhesives must be prefaced by answering the question, “If my dentures fit properly, why will I need a denture adhesive?” Strictly speaking, properly fitting dentures typically will not require a denture adhesive.

That response, however, is insufficient. Dentures may become loose not because they were improperly fit, but because the gums change over time, causing dentures to become out of adjustment. Before you become alarmed or concerned, speak with the dental professional who provided your dentures and discuss the need for denture adhesive. Typically, the longer you wear your dentures, the more likely you will be to need a denture adhesive.

With that determination made, you may need to proceed with the choice of a denture adhesive. There are many available on the market and unless you receive a specific recommendation, it will be helpful to understand your options.

Denture adhesives fall into three general categories: paste, powder or strips. Every denture wearer has a preference and you may need to try more than one product to identify your preference. For the purpose of assisting with that decision, here is some clarification.

Paste and cream are the most popular versions of denture adhesive and there are a number of brands on the market, including Fixodent and Polident. The manufacturers of these products often cite strength, reliability and need for fewer applications. Paste is applied in the same way as toothpaste, with a small amount needed for adhesive properties. You will also apply cream in small quantities, making certain that any extra is removed from denture surfaces. In both cases, make certain that your denture is dry, your bite isn’t compromised by the cream or paste and that the substance isn’t leaking from the denture.

Polident and Fixodent are both highly rated denture adhesives that are easily acquired and applied. The first is available in paste or adhesives while the second is a cream. The advantage to cream is ease of application and a durable, long-lasting hold.

Denture adhesive powder is easier to apply and remove than cream or paste and is least likely to affect your occlusion (bite). After cleaning your dentures, you will shake a small amount of powder on the inside of them. If you choose dental adhesive strips (one of the most popular is Sea-Bond), you will find that they are easily applied and removed. There is no possibility of leakage or gum irritation, strips will likely remain effective for an entire day and some strips claim to have positive effect on your breath. Strips also provide air-tight seals that minimize the possibility of food and liquids becoming trapped within your dentures.

Any dental adhesive you choose will be safe as long as you follow the instructions and use them judiciously. Risks are associated with using too much adhesive, causing tissue to become inflamed and flabby. If you determine that the use of an adhesive is causing irritation or pain, be certain to consult your denture professional immediately.

Just a note should suffice concerning zinc toxicity and denture adhesives. A number of adhesives contain zinc that has been shown to be harmful by a US FDA study. But toxicity is directly linked to overuse of denture adhesive products. A tube of denture adhesive paste should last from seven to eight weeks and the occurrences of toxicity were identified when patients were using one or two tubes per day.

No matter what form of adhesive you choose, removing the adhesive is critical for a number of reasons. The most basic reason is simply that of cleanliness. You will want to remove all adhesive product every night when you do your routine denture cleaning. Leaving residue is capable of creating irritation or infection, neither of which will be pleasant.

Paste is the most difficult to remove. Use a sturdy brush and carefully remove all traces of the paste. Strips can also pose a challenge. Many users have discovered that they benefit greatly by using gauze to clean mouth and gum surfaces from pieces of adhesive strip.

Never hesitate to ask your denture provider about denture adhesive recommendations. Trial and error will be useful but with the experience associated with numerous denture wearers, you may secure a quick summary of benefits with each.

Above all, don’t stick with one denture adhesive if it is uncomfortable or difficult to remove. Comfort and cleanliness are your priorities and you will certainly have the right choices available.

By Daniel Subbotin BSc, BA, DD


For more information or if you have any questions about denture adhesives, please feel free to contact EPICITI Mobile Dental Care. Our mobile dental care professionals provide house call denture clinic services and mobile dental cleaning services right in the comfort of your home in Toronto and surrounding area. Whether you or a loved one requires dental services in retirement homes, nursing homes, long-term care centres, hospitals or residential homes, remember that we come to you.

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