Denture adhesives - what are they?
Denture adhesives are a temporary measure to keep dentures firmly secure in your mouth. Also called denture glue and denture fixative, denture adhesives come in different mediums like paste, powder, adhesive strips or cushions and are widely available in Australian pharmacies or online.
Not all denture wearers need denture adhesive. Well-made, well-fitting dentures mostly remove that need. However, while full top dentures are relatively easy to keep in place, a lower full denture can be more difficult to hold if there are no natural teeth to secure it. If this is your situation, you should not despair though, because as your facial muscles grow accustomed to the denture, holding it securely becomes second nature and you can resume eating, speaking or laughing with confidence. More importantly, with practise, you can dispense with denture adhesives. Patience and persistence are keys to success.
Why would I need denture adhesive?
As a denture wearer, you may rely on denture adhesives when loosening dentures result in gaps forming between the denture and gums, caused by shrinking bone or mouth tissues. General wear and tear as dentures and their wearers’ mouths age, is the most common cause of loose-fitting dentures. Loose dentures allow food particles to get between your gums and roof of the mouth causing irritation. Denture adhesives help the denture stay in place until your prosthetist can reline your denture to improve fit, or until you replace the loose dentures with new ones.
New denture wearers sometimes rely on adhesive as an extra security measure until their mouth muscles adjust and learn to hold the denture in place. While denture adhesive is a great short-term solution for loose dentures, ideally, it should only be used as a temporary fix. See your prosthetist about a denture reline or adjustment to restore the fit of your denture, which removes the need to use costly denture fixatives.
What are the disadvantages of denture adhesives?
Long term adhesive use is not recommended. Some brands of denture adhesive use zinc as an ingredient in their product to improve grip. While zinc is a mineral found in many foods and essential for good health, excessive exposure like overuse of denture adhesives containing zinc, can cause health issues over time, like nerve damage.
Nerve damage can appear as tingling or numbness in the extremities like hands and feet. Because some food and health supplements, along with other pharmaceutical products like sunscreen contain zinc, you may be unaware of how much you are exposed to, especially when absorbed with the additional zinc in denture adhesives [ref]. Following product usage instructions carefully is important therefore, to avoid over exposure. There are zinc free denture adhesives readily available. But health issues are not the only downside to denture adhesives.
Daily use of denture adhesives can add up to a substantial assault on your budget. You may choose to use denture adhesives, feeling you cannot afford a denture reline, or even new dentures. However, given their cost over time, you may find your pocket and your health will benefit in the long run. Added to that is the inconvenience of having to use, maintain and have the adhesive products constantly on hand.
How important are well-fitting dentures?
Aside from concerns you may have about long term ingestion of denture glue products, there is also the question of why you need denture glue in the first place. Good dentures should fit well and not need fixatives to keep them in place. Long term reliance on fixatives can conceal underlying issues. Further, ill-fitting dentures can cause an uneven bite, subjecting the appliance to pressure it isn’t designed to withstand, thus making the denture more subject to breakage. Not only can the prolonged use of denture adhesives compromise your health by over-exposure to zinc, but they may also mask other issues caused by ill-fitting and loose dentures, like an increase in bone loss.
While some bone resorption is expected after loss of natural teeth, overuse of fixatives may cause the wearer to ignore an ill-fitting denture. Uneven pressure on gums when chewing with loose dentures can accelerate bone loss resulting in diminishing bone to support dentures into the future. Unfortunately, dentures cannot counter the natural bone structures which change over time, so eventually a new denture will be needed. Your dental practitioner will advise when it’s time for new dentures.
How much denture adhesive do I need?
More is not necessarily better when determining how much adhesive powder or adhesive paste to use. A general guide is to use enough adhesive cream or paste without having it ooze from beneath the denture onto your mouth tissues. Some denture wearers report gastric disruptions and disrupted bowel function after swallowing excess fixative. This is not an issue for denture adhesive strips, pads or powder.
If you are in doubt about how much adhesive to use, consult with your dental prosthetist for advice. Not all loose-fitting denture problems can be resolved with adhesives, and excessive use can be detrimental to the wearer.
Which denture adhesive is right for me?
Paste or powder? Or adhesive strips or cushions? The choice can be overwhelming. Each type has its benefits and disadvantages. Paste and strips can hurt or cause burning sensations, according to some denture wearers. Others report that denture paste upsets their stomachs or even their normal bowel function. Finding the right fixative for you is a case of trial and error. The same denture adhesives or denture glues, as some call them, will not suit everyone. Reading product details can help and seeking advice from online denture forums can also assist you to sort the useful from the useless.
Types of dental adhesive available in Australia
Denture paste or cream
Applied to the underside of your denture to create a suction layer between your gums and your denture upon contact, denture paste is often seen as the easiest fixative to use. Problems can arise if the cream oozes out into your mouth causing you to swallow it.
Powder fixatives are sprinkled onto the clean wet surface of your denture, creating an airtight bond between your denture and your gums once your denture is inserted into your mouth and makes contact. You can be a bit more selective with powder application than you can with cream, choosing to apply the powder selectively to areas that need more grip. Less messy than denture cream or paste, powders are also generally more expensive.
Denture pads or strips
These kinds of fixatives are the least messy to use, but also the most expensive. Strips of adhesive material are cut to size and stuck onto the underside of your denture. The strips bond your denture to your gums upon contact. Denture strips or pads are least effective for sealing out food particles.
How do I clean adhesive from my denture and mouth?
Sometimes denture adhesives work a little too well and are difficult to remove from your denture and gums. If brushing with warm water doesn’t work, gargling and swishing with mouthwash can help. Follow up with a gentle brushing of your remaining teeth, gums, and roof of the mouth to remove any residue. Use a soft brush and warm water to remove fixative from your denture before soaking. Do not use hot water or toothpaste to clean your denture to avoid damaging the denture surface. Scouring or grooves can result, not only spoiling the look of your denture, but also allowing a place for harmful bacteria to accumulate.
One resourceful denture wearer swears by using exfoliating gloves to rub the adhesive from her dentures and gums. This appears to work well for some. Removing all old adhesive before applying a new amount to clean dentures is essential for general hygiene and to get the best seal.
How do I get my denture out if it’s stuck?
Seasoned denture wearers recommend swirling with warm water or mouthwash, taking care to swish forcefully around the denture then using your fingers either side to rock then prise the denture out. Others suggest trying to leverage the back of the denture down by tilting the front teeth.
How long should you keep dentures in with denture adhesive?
Most product advice suggests not leaving your dentures glued in 24/7. Reapply fresh adhesive each day after dentures have been thoroughly cleaned and out of your mouth to give your oral tissues and gums a rest.
Yikes! - What to do when you’re out of glue!
What if you are caught short without a supply of your denture fixative? Don’t worry. There is an unconventional quick fix to see you out of the woods. Denture wearers know to steer clear of peanut butter which is notoriously sticky. But in this case, it could be your best friend. Smearing a little of the smooth kind on the underside of your clean and dry denture, before inserting into your mouth, biting down then holding for 30 seconds, could save the day, or at least until you renew your supply.
Denture adhesives are a good temporary fix for loose dentures. You may need to try a few different types to find the right one for you. Remember, getting used to holding new dentures securely in your mouth takes perseverance and patience. If you choose to use denture adhesive, follow product instructions carefully and try to avoid, or at least limit zinc-based adherents. However, if you find you are using denture adhesive on a permanent basis, it is time to see your prosthetist about a denture reline or even new dentures.
https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/dental-devices/denture-adhesives https://www.dentaly.org/us/dentures-false-teeth/best-denture-adhesive/ https://denturehealthcare.com.au/best-denture-adhesives/ https://eurodenture.com/blog/speak-clearly-with-dentures/
Disclaimer – Always consult your oral health professional for expert advice about your unique personal situation. The information given here is of a general nature and for the purpose of education only. It is not meant to replace the advice of your oral health specialist
Northern Rivers Denture Clinic is located in the heart of Tweed Heads, southern Gold Coast. Finally have the smile you deserve with handcrafted, quality dentures.