Several years ago, we looked at the question of whether dentures could lead to a DUI, in the context of a dramatic close election where a Councilman accused police of engaging in a conspiracy to get him out of office.

Although we didn’t weigh in on the particular case, we did note that the prevailing wisdom was that if you had well-fitting dentures and didn’t get food trapped under them, your dentures probably wouldn’t lead to a DUI.

However, a new court case from Japan shows that there may actually be more risk of dentures causing DUIs than we thought.

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Adhesives Set off Breathalyzer

The case involves a man from Shizuoka Prefecture (home to Japan’s most famous geographical landmark, Mt. Fuji), who was banned from driving in May 2015 after twice being caught with high blood alcohol when driving in March and May.

He claimed that the reading was false, due to alcohol on his dentures. He said that he put his dentures in about half an hour before he was tested. He fought in court to try to win back the right to drive.

Initially, his claim was denied in District Court in April of last year. An experiment on his denture adhesive showed only minute levels of alcohol. The man also admitted that he had been drinking before being pulled over in both cases, although he didn’t think he had been drinking enough to be intoxicated.

However, the appeals court allowed him to have another breathalyzer test in court when he hadn’t been drinking. A breathalyzer performed 27 minutes after putting in his dentures came out exactly the same as the result of the March 2015 breathalyzer test . The court decided in September that they therefore couldn’t confidently state that his blood alcohol levels were too high during that stop.

Would We Encounter This Problem in the US?

When looking at the ways that dentures could make you fail a breathalyzer test, no source we looked at considered the possibility that denture adhesive itself could be responsible for a failed breathalyzer test.

It’s possible that’s because the composition of adhesives used in the US are different from those used in Japan. Looking over the ingredients of US denture adhesives, it seems that none of them have any significant alcohol content, other than sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that shouldn’t cause a problem with breathalyzer tests.

However, with some breathalyzer tests, the mechanism isn’t specific enough to distinguish between different volatile compounds that might be present in your adhesive. However, it seems that most modern breathalyzer tests shouldn’t be fooled, though the results of this court case does make one wary.

Use Less Adhesive, Just in Case

On the other hand, this risk does make a good reminder that it’s best to avoid using too much adhesive on your dentures. Adhesive poses more serious risks than the slight chance of a DUI.

If dentures fit properly, you shouldn’t have to use much adhesive at all. And, in truth, if your dentures don’t fit properly, more adhesive isn’t likely to help much, anyway.

If you find that you’re using more adhesive on your dentures than you used it, it’s time to consider replacing your dentures, possibly with FOY® Dentures that can give you the best fit, or implant dentures that never require adhesive.

To learn more about getting better-fitting dentures in Columbia, SC, please call (803) 781-9090 today for an appointment with a denture dentist at Smile Columbia Dentistry.