The tooth about zinc

CHICAGO (March 4, 2011) — From its involvement in a healthy immune system to its role in cell growth, zinc is an essential mineral for the human body. Zinc deficiency is a worldwide problem that affects approximately 4 million people in the U.S. alone.

Consumed naturally in the human diet, zinc can be found in food sources, such as beef, yogurt, eggs, and fish. Furthermore, zinc is widely used in dental products, specifically denture adhesives.

However, as with any herb, vitamin, or mineral, excess intake of zinc could pose a potential health hazard. Denture wearers are advised to pay special attention to the amount of zinc they consume, according to an article published in the March/April 2011 issue of General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD).

“If a patient wears dentures, it is essential that he or she follows the instructions and recommended dosages on the product label,” advises J. A. von Fraunhofer, MSc, PhD, co-author of the article. “Many times, patients will overuse the adhesive and, although it happens rarely, they can ingest toxic levels of zinc, with adverse neurologic effects.”

The optimal use of denture adhesive involves placing a thin film or a series of dots across the denture surface, which will ensure that a patient is not overusing the adhesive. A single tube should last three to 10 weeks with daily use, although actual usage depends on the number of applications per day.

“An ill-fitting denture is one reason that a patient could be overusing adhesive,” says AGD spokesperson Manuel A. Cordero, DDS, MAGD. “With age, your mouth will continue to change as the bone under your denture shrinks or recedes. If the denture doesn’t fit correctly, the patient tends to use more adhesive to try to get the denture to stay in place.”

To maintain a proper fit over time, patients should be evaluated by a dentist every six months.

“Abusing denture adhesive could cause nausea, stomachache, and mouth irritation,” says Dr. Cordero. “Over time, toxic levels of zinc could cause a copper deficiency, which has been linked to neurological damage.”

Currently, the FDA has issued no warnings regarding the use of denture adhesives, but patients should limit their usage of adhesive in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions and speak with their dentist if they have additional questions or concerns.

To learn more about how to properly care for dentures, visit www.KnowYourTeeth.com.

About www.KnowYourTeeth.com

www.KnowYourTeeth.com is the Academy of General Dentistry’s (AGD) source of consumer information on dental care and oral health. Its goal is to provide reliable information in a format that is easy to use and navigate, and to provide the tools that will help consumers of all ages to care for their teeth and other aspects of oral care. www.KnowYourTeeth.com answers important dental health questions, offers the latest information on current dental treatments and tips for first-rate oral hygiene and can help visitors find qualified dentists near where they live or work.

About the Academy of General Dentistry

The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) is a professional association of more than 35,000 general dentists dedicated to staying up to date in the profession through continuing education to better serve the public. Founded in 1952, the AGD has grown to become the second largest dental association in the United States, and it is the only association that exclusively represents the needs and interests of general dentists. More than 772,000 persons in the United States are employed directly in the field of dentistry. A general dentist is the primary care provider for patients of all ages and is responsible for the diagnosis, treatment, management and overall coordination of services related to patients’ oral health needs. For more information about the AGD, please visit www.agd.org.

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