May 6, 2009

Are your dentures
destroying your brain?

If you have dentures, it's possible you could be at risk for neurological damage. Actually, it isn't your dentures that can cause the brain damage. It's the cream.

At least that's what a small study on just four patients says. According to the researchers, all four patients had excessive levels of zinc and all four were using denture cream.

What could possibly be wrong with denture cream? Denture cream is supposed to be a "safe" adhesive within your mouth. But it may contain excessive amounts of zinc. In fact, Fixodent and Poli-Grip have zinc levels ranging from 17% to 34%. That could mean up to 34 mg of zinc. That's a full day's supply. If you're taking any other zinc by supplement or in your food, you're getting too much. And that can damage your brain. Here's how:

Zinc is an essential nutrient. However, it must be in balance with copper. It actually competes with copper for absorption. So, all that zinc leads to low copper, which can cause damage to your brain. In fact, one of the participants in the study had neurological abnormalities associated with low copper levels.

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Since I'm not a dentist, I had never paid much attention to dentures. But I can't say avoid dentures, as that's just not reasonable. And there aren't many alternatives to the adhesive creams. So what can you do?

First, make sure you don't use excessive amounts of cream. Use just enough to make the dentures stick. And try not to swallow it.

Second, it might be wise to periodically check your serum zinc levels if you do use denture cream. If your levels are high, you may need to take extra copper and/or reduce the amount of supplemental zinc you consume. Zinc is one nutrient where more is not necessarily better.

Yours for better health and medical freedom,

Ref: Neurology, 2008 June 14.

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