What can I use instead of denture glue?

What can I use instead of denture glue

Perhaps you’ve read some adverse health reports about denture glue, and you’re concerned about its use, or maybe you are simply tired of cleaning it off your denture and gums every day. Whatever the reason, you have found this page because you want ideas for alternative measures to keep your denture securely in place when next you are enjoying your favourite food, cheering on your team, or hitting a high note at choir practise. Denture adhesives are a temporary measure and should not be used continuously, in excessive amounts, nor in place of adjustments and regular denture maintenance to keep your denture fitting properly. We examine the reasons for this and stress that if you are using denture adhesives, following the manufacturer’s direction is crucial for your health.

What is denture glue?

The term ‘denture adhesive’ also known as denture fixative or denture glue is available in a range of products designed to stabilise a denture in the mouth. It is applied to the base of the denture each day to create a secure seal between your mouth and the denture to keep it firmly in place. Denture adhesives may take the form of paste, powder, cream or even adhesive strips. New, safer and more efficient products are constantly being developed. One such product, Denttach can be applied just once a week and is effectively a home reline, re-establishing a cushioning seal between your denture and mouth. (Denttach is available for purchase in our Shop).

When should I use denture adhesives?

Extra help to stabilise your denture may be necessary if you are new to dentures and need a little assistance holding them in place until your facial muscles adjust to the task. It may be that despite the snug fit, you feel more confident with the added security of adhesive until your mouth and jaw muscles adjust and you trust the fit. Like anything worthwhile, it takes patience and practice to learn how to manage dentures to their best effect, but eventually holding them securely in place will become second nature. Using denture glue during this process can assist you to accustomise.

Other reasons you may need denture adhesive include the natural changes which take place in your mouth. Gums shrink, and bone loss occurs over time altering your natural oral landscape. This means once snugly fitting dentures become loose and as a result you may trust their security less. While there are measures your prosthetist can take to restore the denture’s fit, like relining the underside of your denture with a layer of acrylic resin to achieve a new and better fit, eventually you will need a new denture.

Lower dentures have a reputation for being more difficult to hold in place. This is because, unlike the upper denture which covers the palate creating a good suction grip, the lower denture is horseshoe shaped with a gap to accommodate your tongue, relying therefore on the gum ridges and facial muscles for stability.

The advantages of denture adhesives

While denture adhesives provide stability and security for new denture wearers, and for those looking for temporary solutions for loose or ill-fitting dentures, the take home message is if you are using adhesives long term and on a daily basis, you need to see your dental prosthetist for more permanent solutions.

The disadvantages of denture adhesives

Are denture glues dangerous? Why can’t I use denture glues all the time? These are common queries to which the answer is: it depends. Some of the studies we reviewed to answer these questions advise caution when using denture adhesives. If used according to directions, manufacturers deem them safe. However, patients have frequently been observed using excessive quantities of denture adhesive, applying it daily and using it over an extended period. Be warned adverse health effects may follow.[i] [ii] One of the main concerns is some adhesive products containing zinc.[iii] There have been class actions in the USA against well-known brands of denture adhesives containing zinc.[iv] Zinc is used in some denture adhesive products to enhance adhesion and is considered safe if used at prescribed quantities according to manufacturer’s directions.[v] However, manufacturers like GlaxoSmithKline makers of well-known brands like Super Poligrip Free, Comfort Strips and Powder, reformulated its denture adhesives products without zinc after reports claiming excessive use over time may be responsible for blood issues and neurological damage in users.[vi] Those denture wearers who use denture adhesives often complain about the difficulty of removing the glue from their mouth and dentures. See here for tips on how to effectively resolve this issue.

What can I use instead of denture glue?

There is no short answer to the question ‘what can I use instead of denture glue?’ People resort to denture glue to keep their dentures secure. This is an effective solution if the product is used in accordance with manufacturer’s directions and on a temporary basis. It is common for new denture wearers to have insecurity issues. Once they have mastered the art of holding their dentures in place with tongue and facial muscles, they no longer need to use denture adhesives. In other cases, the cause of insecure dentures is poor fit. When you improve the fit, you no longer need to use a denture adhesive. Therefore, your first step is to consult your dental prosthetist who will examine and adjust your denture or restore a snug fit by relining it. At some point these measures are no longer enough and replacement with a new denture is needed. Alternative options like dental implants can provide positive solutions for suitable candidates.

What can I do to maintain a good fit after having dentures fitted?

There is much you can do to maintain a well-fitting denture and avoid the need for denture adhesives.

  • Having a good oral hygiene routine will keep your gums and mouth healthy and in a fit state to support your dentures.
  • Regular check-ups with your dental prosthetist will ensure your denture is well maintained, and adjusted accordingly as your mouth changes, thus maintaining its comfort and increasing its longevity.
  • Avoid sticky foods like chewing gum or peanut butter for example, which can dislodge your dentures.
  • Storing your dentures in water or denture solution overnight will prevent the base material drying out and becoming brittle. Moist dentures flex for a better fit.

Problems caused by loose dentures

While excessive use of denture adhesives can be detrimental to your health, loose dentures can also cause health issues. Ill-fitting dentures are responsible for general discomfort, gum inflammation and abrasion, exposing your mouth to possible infection. An uneven bite caused by loose dentures may also lead to headaches, and jaw and neck pain.

A final word on what to use instead of denture glue

Denture adhesive is a temporary fix for loose dentures. Excessive use over long periods of time can be detrimental to your health. However, used according to the manufacturer’s directions, denture glues can assist new denture wearers with secure denture retention until their facial muscles grow accustomed to holding the denture in place. Denture adhesives used correctly can also be helpful to stabilise loose dentures until you can have them relined or adjusted by your dental prosthetist. Good oral hygiene and regular denture maintenance will ultimately maximise not only fit, thereby eliminating the need for denture glue, but also increase your denture’s longevity.

[i] Sobolewska E, Makowiecki P, Drozdowska J, Dziuba I, Nowicka A, Wyganowska-Świątkowska M, Janiszewska-Olszowska J, Grocholewicz K. Cytotoxic Potential of Denture Adhesives on Human Fibroblasts-In Vitro Study. Materials (Basel). 2022 Feb 20;15(4):1583. doi: 10.3390/ma15041583. PMID: 35208123; PMCID: PMC8878569.
[ii] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281710180_Denture_Adhesive_and_Zinc_Toxicity
[iii] Nations SP, Boyer PJ, Love LA, Burritt MF, Butz JA, Wolfe GI, Hynan LS, Reisch J, Trivedi JR. Denture cream: an unusual source of excess zinc, leading to hypocupremia and neurologic disease. Neurology. 2008 Aug 26;71(9):639-43. doi: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000312375.79881.94. Epub 2008 Jun 4. PMID: 18525032.
[iv] https://www.aboutlawsuits.com/poligrip-fixodent-class-action-lawsuit-canada-12790/
[v] https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/glaxo-removes-zinc-denture-cream-flna1c9442785
[vi] https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/glaxo-removes-zinc-denture-cream-flna1c9442785

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