Getting dentures is a big adjustment. One of the first things new denture wearers wonder is when they can start eating normal food again. This article will provide a complete guide on transitioning to solid foods with new dentures.
The Initial Diet After Getting Dentures
When you first get dentures, your dentist will recommend sticking to a soft food diet. This is because your gums and mouth need time to heal from the extraction process. The soft tissue and bone also need time to adjust to the dentures.
For the first 24 hours, it’s best to stick to a liquid-only diet. Cold, soft foods like yogurt, pudding, ice cream, and smoothies are good options. Stay away from hot liquids which can irritate the tissue.
After the first day, you can begin incorporating pureed and very soft foods. Try mashed potatoes, apple sauce, scrambled eggs, custards, soups, and protein shakes. Avoid hard, crunchy, chewy, or sticky foods that could dislodge the dentures.
Stay on this soft food diet for the first week or two after getting immediate dentures. For those getting conventional dentures, your dentist may recommend staying on soft foods for up to 2 months.
When to Begin Introducing Solid Foods
Here are some general guidelines on when to start incorporating solid foods after getting dentures:
- Immediate complete dentures – After 1 week healed, try soft solids like bananas, soft-cooked veggies, and shredded meats. After 2 weeks, try harder foods slowly.
- Conventional complete dentures – Start soft solids after 6-8 weeks. Transition slowly over 2-3 months.
- Partial dentures – After 2 weeks, begin trying soft then hard solids.
However, your dentist will give you a timeline tailored to your specific mouth and healing. Some patients progress faster than others. The most important thing is listening to your body and not rushing the process.
Tips for Progressing with Solid Foods
When you start to reintroduce solid foods, begin slowly and gradually. Here are some tips to make the transition smoother:
- Start soft – Try soft versions of foods first before hard. For example, scrambled eggs before fried eggs.
- Cut small – Cut all foods into small pieces to minimize pressure on dentures.
- Chew deliberately – Chew slowly and intentionally, focusing on chewing with your front and middle teeth.
- Avoid hard, sticky foods – Crunchy apples, chewy breads, and sticky peanut butter can loosen dentures. Build up to these.
- Use denture adhesives – Adhesives can help stabilize dentures as you transition to solid foods.
Foods to Eat with New Dentures
Here are some healthy foods that are suitable to start with as you progress off soft foods:
- Cooked vegetables – Well-cooked carrots, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.
- Fresh fruits – Bananas, melon, peeled apples, oranges, soft pears.
- Well-done meats – Ground meats, pulled chicken, canned salmon.
- Whole grains – Porridge, cream of wheat, grits, mashed potatoes.
- Dairy products – Yogurt, eggs, pudding, cottage cheese.
- Legumes – Cooked beans, lentils, and peas.
- Soups – Broth-based, pureed, or well-cooked vegetable soups.
Take your time working these foods in. It can take weeks or months to comfortably chew and bite harder foods. Listen to your dentist’s recommendations.
Tips for Adapting to Dentures
Adjusting to dentures involves a learning curve. Be patient, take your time, and utilize these tips:
- Go slowly when chewing – Rushing can dislodge dentures.
- Cut food into small pieces – This reduces the force needed to chew.
- Avoid sticky, hard, crunchy foods – Until you adjust, these can loosen dentures.
- Chew on both sides – Distribute pressure evenly by chewing equally on both sides.
- Practice reading out loud – This can help you adapt to speaking with missing teeth.
- Use denture adhesives – These help stabilize dentures and boost confidence.
- Be patient – It takes time for your mouth to adapt and build muscle memory.
With diligence and practice, chewing with dentures will begin to feel natural. Don’t get frustrated. Follow your dentist’s advice and timelines.
When to See Your Dentist
As you transition to eating solid foods, consult your dentist if you experience:
- Persistent sore spots – This may indicate poor fit requiring adjustment.
- Loose dentures – Continuous slipping may mean you need a reline.
- Breakage – Don’t try to repair it yourself, have your dentist examine.
- Chewing problems after several weeks – You may need adjustments for optimal chewing.
- Speech problems – Difficulty speaking may require adjustments.
Routine denture checkups every 6-12 months are also recommended. Your dentist will evaluate fit and condition and make any necessary repairs or relines.
Foods to Avoid with Dentures
Once comfortably adjusted to solid foods, denture wearers can eat most foods. However, some foods still pose risks and challenges:
- Hard, crunchy foods – Nuts, chips, raw veggies can damage dentures and dislodge them.
- Chewy, sticky foods – Caramels, dried fruit, gum can loosen dentures.
- Tough meats – Corned beef, steak require more chewing force.
- Crusty breads – Harder bread crusts take more force to chew.
- Popcorn – Can get stuck under dentures and damage tissue.
- Hard candies – Jawbreakers, lollipops can dislodge and break dentures.
Even once adjusted, denture wearers may need to continue avoiding certain hard or sticky foods. Consider steaming vegetables soft instead raw. Or remove pizza toppings that could damage dentures.
Lifestyle Adjustments with Dentures
Getting dentures involves an adaptation period of several weeks or months. Here are some lifestyle adjustments to anticipate:
- Take extra care chewing – Chew slowly and cut foods into small pieces.
- Remove dentures before sleeping – Unless advised otherwise by your dentist.
- Allow more time for meals – Chewing will be slower especially at first.
- Carry denture adhesive/repair kit – In case dentures become loose while out.
- Avoid denture damage – Take them out for contact sports; wear mouthguard if needed.
- Practice speaking aloud – Reading out loud can help adapt speech.
- Rinse after meals – Food and plaque can quickly build up under dentures.
- Expect routine dentist visits – For adjustments, repairs, relines every 6-12 months.
With practice, your lifestyle can return close to normal. But dentures do require more care and maintenance than natural teeth.
Denture Care While Transitioning to Solid Foods
Proper denture care is especially important as you reintroduce solid foods:
- Brush regularly – Brush dentures after each meal to remove debris.
- Soak daily – Soak dentures overnight in cleanser to kill bacteria.
- Don’t use toothpaste – It can scratch the denture surface over time.
- Watch for damage – Inspect regularly for cracks or loose parts.
- Clean your mouth – Brush gums and tongue daily to stimulate tissue.
- See your dentist – Get regular fit evaluations and cleanings.
With diligent care, dentures can last 5-10 years or longer. Maintaining excellent hygiene prevents damage and oral health issues.
Long-Term Eating with Dentures
Over the first few weeks and months, eating will steadily get easier. But denture wearers often still face some lifelong diet modifications including:
- Avoiding very hard, sticky, crunchy foods
- Cutting meat and veggies into small pieces
- Chewing more carefully and slowly
- Avoiding foods that can get trapped under dentures like corn
- Choosing softer breads and grains
With practice, a healthy diet is certainly possible long-term. Many seasoned denture veterans come up with creative ways to continue enjoying their favorite foods.
When to Consider Dental Implants
For some denture patients, dental implants can provide a solution for easier eating. Implants fuse to the jawbone, providing sturdy support for implant-retained dentures.
Implants should be considered if you experience:
- Continual looseness or slipping of dentures
- Discomfort or sores from dentures rubbing
- Difficulty chewing or eating desired foods
- Jawbone resorption under dentures over time
- A desire for optimal stability and comfort
For qualified candidates, implants can greatly improve denture function and comfort. Consult your dentist whether they could benefit you.
Discuss Your Needs with Your Dentist
Only your dentist can advise you on the exact timeline and foods suitable for your new dentures. Ask them:
- When can I start attempting soft solids, then harder foods?
- What foods should I avoid at first, and in the long-term?
- What strategies can help me adjust to chewing with dentures?
- How will I know if my dentures need adjustment or repair?
- How often should I come in for evaluation appointments?
With your dentist’s input, you can transition smoothly to solid foods with your new dentures. Although an adjustment period is normal, you’ll soon be enjoying all your favorite healthy foods again.
Getting dentures marks a big change in your oral health and diet. However, with patience and care you can return to a relatively normal diet. Start very soft, and slowly introduce soft, then harder foods over the course of weeks or months. Avoiding hard or sticky foods, chew carefully, and see your dentist promptly if you have problems. With practice, you can comfortably eat all the healthy foods you enjoy. Just take your time and don’t rush the transition process.