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Poligrip Denture Adhesive Powder Ingredients

In keeping with my ongoing research into the ingredients of various denture adhesives, today I decided to look into Extra Strength Super Poligrip Powder. It’s the last of the major brands of denture powder here in the United States, and probably one of the more popular options for people who prefer zinc free denture powder over zinc free denture cream.

According to the Poligrip manufacturer web site, the ingredients of Poligrip denture adhesive powder are as follows: Cellulose gum, poly(methylvinylether/maleic acid) sodium-calcium mixed partial salt, flavor. Here is my breakdown of what I could find out about these ingredients.

Cellulose gum: As with so many other denture adhesive powder ingredients, this has both a natural-sounding name (cellulose gum) and a chemical-sounding name (carboxymethyl cellulose). The good news is that this ingredient is non-toxic, and is very commonly used in food products around the world. There is actually no MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for it, though there is an MSDS for the sodium salt of carboxymethyl cellulose. However, even in that form, it seems that it’s the sodium which causes the toxicity, as the LD50 (lethal dose in 50% of a test population – generally composed of rats) is 27,000mg/kg. For a 180 pound human, this would amount to consuming nearly five pounds of the stuff in one sitting. The only other mention of issues is with inhaled powders. Since I don’t think anyone is interested in snorting their denture adhesives, I dismissed that as a concern. So I happily chalked this up as a very benign ingredient and moved on.

Poly(methylvinylether/maleic acid) sodium-calcium mixed partial salt: I have actually had some difficulty trying to hunt down information on this ingredient. I found several variants of the name, each of which seemed to possess different properties. According to Good Guide, Poly (methylvinylether/Maleic Acid) does not raise any red flags because it has not been found in human tissue or urine. And the makers of Poligrip branded products clearly believe it’s a safe ingredient to use, as you’ll find it’s listed in every one of their denture adhesives except for their Comfort Seal Strips.

Me? I’m not quite as convinced. For one thing, maleic acid, when viewed as a separate entity, has been shown to be toxic to the kidneys. Furthermore, if the compound in question is, as I suspect, also known as methyl vinyl ether/maleic acid copolymer, then it has an MSDS which states enigmatically “May be harmful if swallowed.” All that said, I couldn’t find any data suggesting that this particular ingredient is actually harmful in the small doses a person would receive when using it as a denture adhesive. As with the cellulose gum above, even the information I found about toxicity (like the maleic acid alone, which I should stress this denture powder does not have) all indicated that you’d have to consume massive amounts in order to poison yourself.

Flavor: Well, here’s a wide open ingredient if ever I’ve seen one. I actually hate it when companies use this sort of terminology. Reason being, I learned long ago that they generally use it to hide something. For example, did you know that if a product contains monosodium glutamate (MSG), they don’t have to state it on the label, but can instead use one of the following obfuscating names for it:

Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
Hydrolyzed Protein
Plant Protein Extract
Sodium Caseinate
Calcium Caseinate
Yeast Extract
Textured Protein (Including TVP)
Autolyzed Yeast
Natural Flavor

And that is only a partial list. Pretty crazy, huh? So the reality is, we have absolutely no idea what this “flavor” is in Poligrip Denture Powder. It could be something as benign as peppermint oil or as scary as, well, something with 18 syllables that I can’t pronounce. I’m pretty sure it’s not MSG, though. :)

So, all that said, what do I personally think of the ingredients in Poligrip denture adhesive powder? I think if this is a product you’ve been using for a while, and you haven’t had any mysterious or unexplained health issues, then you’re probably fine to continue using it. However, if I were to need dentures myself today, I would probably err on the side of safety, and select a product with less cryptic ingredients, like Klutch.

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