Denture Fixatives and Adhesives – Don’t get stuck?

06/02/2022 0 Comments

Denture fixatives (otherwise known as adhesives) are materials which help dentures stay in place, feel more secure and altogether more comfortable.

When you have missing teeth, then there are a few options to replace them. These include implants, bridges or dentures.

Not every missing tooth needs to be replaced, and that’s a common misconception I often get asked as a dentist. A patient would need an extraction (for whatever reason); and they ask about replacing it. Sometimes, the missing tooth doesn’t need to be replaced. It all depends on where it is in the mouth, and what function it serves.

When you go down the denture route, then how the denture stays in the mouth will rely on a variety of factors. These include the number of teeth it replaces, the bone health, the amount of “gum”, and the shape and position of remaining teeth.

In many instances, denture fixatives can help those who wear dentures achieve better outcomes.

Denture fixatives comes in a few formats: cream, gel, powder or as cushion pads.

Denture Fixative
Lower Denture

Some key points to remember regarding denture fixatives

1) Apply The Right Amount of Denture Fixative

Applying denture adhesive is very simple. It is important to note that you don’t need a huge amount. A small amount may be more than sufficient. After a few attempts, you will know how much works for you.

Apply a small amount to the fitting surface, and then push your dentures in place and bite down. Don’t worry if you’ve applied too much, as the excess material will ooze out from the sides, which you can wipe away with a moist finger.

2) When To Apply Denture Adhesive

You can apply adhesive whenever you want to. However, as dentists, we usually recommend that you apply it as soon as you wake up as part of your morning routine.

If your dentures fit well without adhesive, and you just want them for extra comfort, then you might apply it to your dentures just before you go out to meet your friend for coffee, or before dinner with your family. However, try to restrict the application to once per day.

Watch this video which shows you easy steps to apply fixative:

How long does the denture adhesive last?

Obviously, dental companies want to produce an adhesive which can last as long as is best. As dentists, we recommend that dentures are not worn during bedtime. With very small dentures, there is a risk of chocking. Otherwise, we want the gums and palate to breathe; and this is their chance. If you wear dentures 24/7; then bacteria and yeast will be pushed against the soft tissues for long periods. Coupled with food particles, that can give rise to yeast infections and increase likelihood of decay in the teeth adjacent to the denture; as well as compromise gum health.

The degree and duration of hold may vary from person to person.

How do denture fixatives actually work?

Fixodent denture adhesive is specially developed to work with your mouth for a secure and comfortable hold. The natural moistures present in your mouth causes Fixodent’s soft cream to change into an elastic-like membrane. This then grips your dentures tightly enabling you to bite and eat more naturally and confidently.

Do denture fixatives contain zinc?

A lot of them do contain zinc, as this helps dentures to remain firmly in place adding to one’s confidence. The daily amount is actually less than the zinc you’d find in most multivitamins. However understandably, more people are looking to alternatives without zinc; and the dental companies have responded [much like alcohol free mouthwashes]. So, you will find some brands that make adhesive without zinc, and they are happy to shout that out.

Whilst zinc is an essential supplement for good health, excessive uptake can affect health. Excessive intake through diet and with denture adhesive containing zinc can lead to too much of zinc in one’s body.

An excessive amount of zinc can lead to problems such as numbness and tingling in the fingers and toes which at a later stage causes nerve damage.

One study (Chandra 1984) showed excessive zinc can affect one’s immunity by a reduction in lymphocyte stimulation response to phytohemagglutinin as well as chemotaxis and phagocytosis of bacteria by polymorphonuclear leukocytes.

Another literature review (Fosmire 1990) demonstrated manifestations of overt toxicity symptoms (nausea, vomiting, epigastric pain, lethargy, and fatigue) will occur with extremely high zinc intakes. Even at low intakes – but still exceeding the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), there is evidence of induced copper deficiency which can result in anaemia and neutropenia; as well as affecting cholesterol levels.

Looking for a zinc free denture cream adhesive, then Polygrip have a product which may suit you.


Chandra RK. Excessive Intake of Zinc Impairs Immune Responses. JAMA. 1984;252(11):1443–1446. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350110043027

Fosmire, GJ. Zinc toxicity. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 51, Issue 2, February 1990, Pages 225–227,

Coming soon: What are the different makes of fixative out there.

Denture Fixatives
Lower Denture

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