What can you not eat with partials?

Getting dental partials or partial dentures can be a big change. While partial dentures replace some of your missing teeth, they also affect what and how you eat. With a good understanding of how partials work, you can still enjoy a satisfying diet. Let’s take a closer look at what you can and can’t eat with partial dentures.

What are partial dentures?

Partial dentures are removable appliances that replace one or more missing teeth. They attach to your natural teeth with clasps or other devices and consist of a metal framework with pink plastic gums and artificial teeth. Partials help fill in gaps left by missing teeth, restoring your smile and allowing you to chew properly. However, they can take some adjustment when it comes to eating.

Why does your diet need to change with partials?

While partial dentures restore crucial oral functions, they aren’t quite as sturdy as your natural teeth. The materials they’re made from can be damaged by very hard or sticky foods. Partial dentures are also held in place differently than your permanent teeth. Heavy biting or chewing forces could potentially dislodge them. For these reasons, some adjustments are needed in your diet to protect your new dental appliances.

Foods to Avoid with Partials

When you first get partial dentures, you’ll have to relearn how to eat to avoid problems. Some foods are too hard, sticky or chewy for partials and should be avoided. Here are some examples:

Hard foods

Very hard foods can damage the acrylic or metal parts of your partials:

  • Raw vegetables – carrots, celery, broccoli stems
  • Hard breads and rolls with crusty exteriors
  • Hard candies, mints, lollipops
  • Ice cubes, popsicles
  • Nuts and seeds like almonds, peanuts or sunflower seeds
  • Hard taco shells

Sticky foods

Sticky foods can get stuck in partials and dislodge them:

  • Chewing gum
  • Caramels, taffy, gummy candies
  • Peanut butter
  • Marshmallows
  • Dried fruits like raisins or dates

Chewy foods

Foods that are tough, chewy or rubbery can loosen partial dentures:

  • Beef jerky
  • Pizza crust
  • Tough meats like spare ribs
  • Some raw fruits and vegetables like apples or celery
  • Bagels
  • Corn on the cob
  • Popcorn

Crunchy foods

Very crunchy foods can damage the clasps or denture material:

  • Potato or corn chips
  • Nuts
  • Seeds like pumpkin or sunflower
  • Popcorn
  • Hard pretzels
  • Granola

Other foods to limit or avoid

There are a few other types of food that don’t go well with partials:

  • Crusty breads that shed crumbs can get caught under partials
  • Fruits with small seeds like strawberries or kiwis could lodge under partials
  • Cut or shredded foods like coleslaw may stick
  • Very hot, acidic or alcohol-based drinks can irritate the gum tissue under partials

Tips for Eating with Partials

While you’ll need to avoid certain foods at first, there are still plenty of things you can enjoy eating with a little care. Here are some tips to make mealtimes easier:

Go slowly

When you first get partial dentures, eat slowly. Chew carefully on both sides, and avoid large bites of food. This gives you time to get used to having dental appliances in your mouth. Rushing through meals can cause you to bite too hard, dislodging partials.

Cut food into small pieces

Cut foods like meats and vegetables into tiny pieces before eating. Smaller pieces are easier to chew thoroughly with partials. Cutting up fruits, breads, meats and veggies helps prevent them from catching.

Moisten and soften foods

Dip crusty bread in soup or gravy to soften it before eating. Cook hard fruits and vegetables to soften them. Opt for soft breads and gently cooked pasta or rice. Moist, soft food is the easiest to eat with partials.

Use both sides evenly

Don’t favor one side when chewing. This can put uneven pressure on partials, causing them to shift or loosen. Practice chewing evenly on both sides to stabilize partials.

Avoid chewing gum

Chewing gum should be off limits for new partial wearers. Gum sticks to acrylic and can dislodge appliances. The chewing motion can also loosen partials.

Watch slippery foods

Things like egg noodles, pasta and sauces can be slippery. Eat them carefully so they don’t slide under your partial denture. Cut noodles into short lengths before eating.

Stay seated when eating

Always eat while sitting upright at a table. Walking, standing or lying down while eating lets food particles get under your partials. Stay upright while chewing and swallowing.

Rinse your mouth after eating

After meals, gently rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash. This removes any remaining particles that could get stuck. Be very gentle — forceful swishing can dislodge appliances.

Avoid alcohol

Alcohol can dry out and irritate gum tissue. It’s best to avoid or minimize alcoholic drinks when you first get partials. Check with your dentist about when it may be safe to resume drinking alcohol.

What You CAN Eat with Partials

While some adjustments are needed, you can still eat a healthy, satisfying diet with partial dentures. Here are some of the best options:

Soft, tender meats

Well-cooked, moist meats like chicken, fish, ground meats, turkey and eggs are great choices. Cut into small pieces before eating.

Well-cooked vegetables

Cook vegetables like carrots, broccoli, squash, spinach and green beans until tender. Chop into bite-size pieces.

Ripe fresh fruits

Fruits like bananas, melons, peaches and pears are ideal when ripe. Take small bites and cut fruit into chunks.

Canned fruits

Canned fruits like peaches, pears and mandarin oranges that are packed in syrup are very soft. Rinse off the syrup before eating.

Mashed potatoes and yams

Mashed, whipped or riced potatoes are smooth and easy to eat. Sweet potatoes and yams are healthy options too.

Cottage cheese

Small curds of cottage cheese are easy to eat. Try topping with soft cooked fruits like peaches.


Smooth yogurt and Greek yogurt are nutritious options. Stick to soft fruit flavors without crunchy toppings.

Oatmeal and cream of wheat

Hot cereals like oats or cream of wheat can be cooked until very soft. Top with brown sugar, fruit or swirls of yogurt.

Macaroni and cheese

Elbow macaroni and cheese sauce is smooth and easy to eat when prepared very soft. Just be careful of sticky cheese.

Beans and lentils

Well-cooked kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans and lentils are healthy choices. Mash or puree them for the smoothest texture.


Scrambled, soft boiled, poached and omelet style eggs are great sources of protein. Take small bites.

Tender sandwiches

Go for soft bread or rolls and tender ingredients like tuna salad, egg salad and mashed avocado.


Smooth dairy or soy-based puddings offer nutrition and variety. Avoid chunky mix-in like fruit or nuts.


Unsweetened applesauce can be a satisfying small snack between meals.

Foods You Can Adapt

Some foods require a little creativity to prepare them in a partial-friendly way. Here are tips for adapting certain foods:


Enjoy rolls, biscuits, muffins, and quick breads like banana or zucchini bread. Avoid crusty exteriors. Dip in soup or tea to moisten.


Opt for short pasta shapes like penne, macaroni or shells. Cook until very soft and top with smooth sauces.


White or brown rice can be part of a balanced diet. For easiest eating, cook until soft and top with gravy or sauce.


Steam or boil vegetables like broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and greens until extremely soft. Mash or puree if needed.


Cook fresh fruits like apples and pears until soft. Dice very small or puree. Canned fruits can be pureed too.


Choose tender cuts of beef or pork. Cook until well-done and cut into tiny pieces or shred. Add gravy or sauce.


Order with soft crust and toppings like cooked veggies and sliced sausage. Cut in small wedges and eat carefully.


For occasional popcorn, choose a soft microwave brand. Pick kernels out carefully with your tongue to avoid biting hard.

Transitioning to Regular Foods

When you first get partial dentures, stick to a soft diet to let your mouth adjust. As your mouth toughens up, you can slowly add different foods back in. How long this takes varies for each person. Things that can help the transition:

  • Starting with small bites of harder foods and working your way up
  • Chewing evenly and carefully
  • Going slowly and monitoring your comfort level
  • Using dental adhesive to help stabilize partials
  • Keeping partials tight with proper oral hygiene
  • Seeing your dentist regularly for adjustments as needed

With patience and care, many people can return to a relatively normal diet. But some foods may always need special preparation. Work closely with your dentist to make changes at the right pace.

When to Call Your Dentist

Even with a careful diet, you may sometimes encounter problems with partials. Seek help from your dentist if partials become loose, damaged or uncomfortable. Call right away if:

  • Your partial detaches or breaks
  • You have persistent sore spots or rubbing
  • You have difficulty chewing or speaking
  • You notice damage like cracks, scratches or loose teeth
  • You have pain under partials that won’t go away
  • Food constantly gets stuck under your partial

Don’t try to repair or adjust partials yourself. Your dentist can assess issues and get your partials working properly again.

Long-Term Care for Partials

While dietary changes help protect your partial dentures, proper care is also essential:

Brush and clean daily

Meticulous oral hygiene keeps partials fitting right and teeth healthy. Brush natural teeth and clean partials daily.

Remove partials at night

Unless otherwise advised, take partials out at bedtime and soak them in water or denture cleaner. This allows your gums to rest.

See your dentist regularly

Get your partials adjusted by a dentist every 6-12 months to maintain the proper fit. Have dentist check for wear and damage annually.

Use adhesive if needed

Denture adhesive can improve partials grip when eating. Apply sparingly along the inner surface.

Watch for irritation and sores

Make sure partials fit right to avoid rubbing that damages gums. See your dentist promptly if you develop sore spots.

Consider dental implants

For some patients, dental implants can provide a longer-term solution. Implants allow more natural chewing without a removable appliance.

Diet and Nutrition Tips

Here are some other things to remember for healthy eating with partial dentures:

  • Eat slowly and chew thoroughly
  • Choose soft, nutritious foods as the mainstay of your diet
  • Include lean proteins like eggs, yogurt, beans, shredded chicken
  • Eat plenty of cooked fruits and vegetables
  • Choose whole grain options like oatmeal, soft breads and brown rice when you can
  • Drink water frequently with meals
  • Supplement with nutritional shakes or smoothies if you can’t get adequate nutrition
  • Ask your dentist if tooth-colored composite resins could replace unsightly metal clasps for aesthetic partials

With some patience and experimentation, you can adapt your diet to enjoy healthy, satisfying meals with partial dentures. Work closely with your dentist so adjustments to your partials support your nutritional needs.


Partial dentures allow you to eat more foods than having missing teeth alone. But some modification is still needed to protect your new dental appliances. Stick mainly to soft, moist foods at first while your mouth adjusts. Then gradually reintroduce more textures as tolerated. With good oral care and regular dental visits, you can likely get back to a relatively normal diet. Using caution with harder, stickier foods prevents damage and helps your partial dentures function at their best.

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