The Bottom Line: The origin of excessive zinc in eleven patients was analyzed, with a progressive myelopolyneuropathy and unexplained hypocupremia with hyperzincinemia. These patients had a detailed clinical assessment, determination of zinc and copper levels, and analyzed use of denture cream with the estimates of daily zinc exposure. We identified denture cream as a source of excessive zinc in 100% patients in our cohort. They all had a history of ill-fitting dentures requiring large amounts of denture cream, resulting in significant zinc exposure. Their copper and zinc normalized after stopping denture cream, further confirming that this is the source of high zinc. Inappropriate use of denture cream appears to be the sole source of excessive zinc in these patients.
Reference: Peter Hedera, Amanda Peltier, John K. Fink, Sandy Wilcock, Zachary London, George J. Brewer. Myelopolyneuropathy and pancytopenia due to copper deficiency and high zinc levels of unknown origin II. The denture cream is a primary source of excessive zinc.
Summary: poorly fitting dentures requiring large amounts of denture cream to provide a sufficient seal appear to be the common characteristics of patients with idiopathic hypocupremia, hyperzincinemia, bone marrow supression and a combination of polyneuropathy with spinal cord degeneration. Patients presenting with this constellation of neurologic and hematological signs need to be immediately screened for abnormal blood copper and zinc levels, and the use of large amounts of denture cream. It appears their disease is fully explained by denture cream use.