Molly Smith had no idea what was going on. The 45-year-old mother of three told her doctor about pain and tingling in her fingers and toes, but her family practitioner had no explanation. The pain and numbness moved to her knees. She started feeling weak and began to have problems with balance. Eventually, she needed a wheelchair.
Smith was told she had a neurological illness called neuropathy, but her doctor could not tell her the cause—until Smith casually mentioned a problem her dentures. Smith’s doctor ordered a blood test and found she had high levels of zinc in her body. The doctor believed the zinc came from her denture cream.
Fixodent and other denture creams may contain high levels of the mineral zinc. We all need a little zinc, but too much zinc can cause zinc poisoning, a condition that occurs when high levels of zinc in the body interfere with the body’s ability to absorb copper. This can cause irreversible neurological damage.
People with ill-fitting dentures may need large amounts of denture cream to hold their dental work in place. Some people have reported using as much as one or two or even more tubes of denture cream a week. But they don’t realize there is a risk.
Each time the person uses denture cream, he swallows some of the excess. Over time, levels of zinc build up in the blood. This prevents the body from absorbing copper, a necessary nutrient. Lack of copper can lead to brain and blood disorders.
In 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent a notice to dental cream manufacturers asking them to consider removing the zinc from their denture creams. The FDA also asked manufacturers to modify their labeling to indicate whether a product contains zinc and how much product can be used safely.
Zinc is no longer used in Super Poligrip Original, Super Poligrip Ultra Fresh and Super Poligrip Extra Care. But other denture creams, including Fixodent, still contain zinc.
Millions of people believed they were using a safe product. Those who suffer zinc poisoning and related injuries after using denture cream may be eligible to participate in a class-action lawsuit against the manufacturer. To learn more about Iowa denture cream lawsuits, contact the pharmaceutical injury attorneys at Hupy and Abraham. Call 800-390-6350 to schedule a free consultation; we’ll let you know if you have a case.