Zinc-containing denture adhesive: a potential source of excess zinc resulting in copper deficiency myelopathy

Br Dent J. 2011 Jun 10;210(11):523-5. doi: 10.1038/sj.bdj.2011.428.


Copper deficiency in humans can result in both anaemia and neurological symptoms affecting walking and balance. Recently zinc excess due to overuse of zinc-containing denture adhesive has been recognised as a potential cause of copper deficiency. Recovery from neurological symptoms with replacement therapy appears to be limited and so emphasis falls on education and early detection. Dentists are well placed to educate patients on use of denture adhesives and to detect early signs of copper deficiency in patients who may be using zinc-containing denture adhesive to excess. A case of a 58-year-old man diagnosed with copper deficiency myelopathy possibly due to zinc-containing denture cream overuse is presented.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adhesives / adverse effects
  • Adhesives / chemistry*
  • Anemia, Macrocytic / etiology
  • Copper / deficiency*
  • Copper / metabolism
  • Denture Retention*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metallothionein / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Neutropenia / etiology
  • Paresthesia / etiology
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / etiology*
  • Zinc / adverse effects*
  • Zinc / metabolism


  • Adhesives
  • Copper
  • Metallothionein
  • Zinc