Getting dentures can be a big adjustment when it comes to eating. Many people wonder if they’ll ever be able to eat normally again once they have dentures. The good news is that with some practice and patience, most people are able to adapt and eat a relatively normal diet with dentures. There are some tips and tricks to make eating easier while you transition to dentures. With the right denture fit and care, you can enjoy eating your favorite foods again.
What changes can I expect with eating after getting dentures?
Getting used to dentures brings changes in your ability to bite, chew, and taste foods. Here are some of the common changes you may experience at first with eating with dentures:
- Reduced chewing ability – Dentures make it harder to bite and chew food well, especially hard or chewy foods.
- Gagging or dentures loosening – As you transition to dentures, you may accidentally bite the dentures and experience them loosening or triggering your gag reflex.
- Less flavor – With less surface area on denture teeth, you may notice less pronounced flavors when eating.
- Avoidance of certain foods – You may begin avoiding foods that are difficult to chew like raw vegetables, nuts, tough meats.
- Dribbling food – Reduced lip support can result in food dribbling out while eating.
These issues tend to be most noticeable right after getting dentures but improve with practice eating and as you get used to your new dentures.
Tips for eating with new dentures
It takes time to adjust to eating with dentures, but there are some tips that can help:
- Start soft – Stick to soft, moist foods at first like cooked vegetables, eggs, canned fruit, cottage cheese.
- Cut food into small pieces – Reduce the size of food to make it easier to chew with dentures.
- Eat slowly – Take your time eating and chew thoroughly before swallowing.
- Use denture adhesives – Adhesives can help stabilize dentures and boost your confidence eating.
- Avoid sticky, hard foods – Be cautious with chewy, crunchy, or sticky foods that could loosen dentures.
- Stay hydrated – Drink water with meals to help moisten food and make chewing easier.
Practicing proper denture care and seeing your dentist for adjustments can also help with eating ability. Gradually work your way up to more challenging foods.
When will eating become easier with my dentures?
It can take anywhere from several weeks to a few months to feel comfortable eating with new dentures. As you practice eating regularly with your dentures, your mouth will adjust, and eating ability will improve. Here is a general timeline for adjusting to eating with dentures:
- First 1-2 weeks – Severely reduced chewing capacity. Stick to pureed foods, soft cooked foods and meals requiring little chewing.
- 2-4 weeks – Chewing improves slightly. Slowly introduce tender cooked vegetables, finely shredded meats, crunchy cereals.
- 1-2 months – Less food avoidance and gagging. Feel comfortable trying harder fruits, breads, corn on the cob, salad.
- 3-6 months – Much easier chewing and swallowing. Can eat higher protein foods like steak, nuts, raw veggies.
Getting used to dentures is a process. Don’t get discouraged if eating is really difficult at first. With daily practice, your mouth will adapt and eating ability will get better and better.
What foods should I avoid with dentures?
While you can eat most foods with well-fitting dentures, there are some foods that tend to cause problems. Here are some foods to avoid or minimize, especially while adjusting to new dentures:
- Tough, chewy meats – Such as steak, jerky, ribs.
- Crunchy raw vegetables – Carrots, celery, broccoli stems.
- Hard breads and rolls – Especially crusty bread or baguettes.
- Chewy candies – Such as caramel, taffy, gum.
- Popcorn and nuts – Due to crunchy, hard texture.
- Sticky foods – Such as peanut butter, caramels, dried fruit.
These foods can be reintroduced once you are comfortable eating with your dentures. But go slowly at first, cut into small pieces, chew thoroughly with your back teeth, and avoid large portions.
What are the best foods to eat with new dentures?
Focusing on moist, soft, nutrient-rich foods can make the transition to dentures much easier. Here are some of the top foods to eat while adjusting to new dentures:
- Eggs – Scrambled, soft boiled, omelets, etc.
- Yogurt and cottage cheese
- Oatmeal, cream of wheat
- Mashed potatoes and baked potatoes
- Cooked vegetables – Carrots, greens, beans, etc.
- Soups and stews – Make sure pieces are small.
- Tuna, salmon, and shredded chicken
- Pasta with smooth sauces – Avoid chewy pasta.
- Ripe bananas, cooked fruits
Focus on a soft food diet at first. Once comfortable, gradually reintroduce tender meats, raw veggies, nuts and seeds, crunchy snacks. Consult your dentist if severely limiting your diet.
What techniques can help me eat more comfortably with dentures?
It takes some creativity and inventiveness to find ways to eat that avoid denture issues. Here are some helpful techniques as you transition to eating with dentures:
- Cut all food into small, manageable pieces.
- Moisten dry foods like bread and crackers by dipping in milk or broth.
- Avoid fillings and toppings that could dislodge dentures like peanut butter, cheese, tomato.
- Remove dentures for sticky candy or chewy foods.
- Chew mostly on your back teeth, not your front denture teeth.
- Tilt your head forward when eating to keep food from falling behind your tongue.
- Take small bites and chew thoroughly before swallowing.
- Rinse your dentures after eating to remove debris.
Don’t hesitate to ask for special food preparations when eating out like having hard vegetables steamed instead of raw. Choose foods that work for your level of adjustment and don’t cause you denture pain or embarrassment.
Are there any aids that can help with eating with dentures?
There are some denture accessories and aids that may facilitate easier eating:
- Denture adhesive – Can help stabilize dentures, allowing you to eat with more confidence.
- Cushioned pads – Placed under dentures to provide a better fit and reduce pain from rubbing.
- Denture cleansers – Removes debris that can compromise fit and lead to gagging.
- Over-the-counter numbing gels – Can temporarily numb pain from rubbing dentures.
- Tongue guards – Prevent the tongue from dislodging lower dentures during chewing.
- Denture repair kit – For quick at-home repairs if dentures crack or break.
Ask your dentist which products may be helpful in your situation. Water flossers, anti-microbial rinses, fluoride toothpastes for dentures can also support denture care and eating.
What foods should I continue to avoid even after adjusting to my dentures?
After you have fully adjusted to dentures, following an ideal denture diet can prevent ongoing issues. Some foods that are always challenging for denture wearers include:
- Chewy, gummy candies – Can stick to dentures and damage acrylic.
- Hard nuts and seeds – Such as almonds, popcorn kernels.
- Crunchy raw veggies and fruits – Can be difficult for dentures to breakdown.
- Tough, gristly meats – Risk dentures loosening and food getting stuck.
- Crusty breads – Can irritate gums and dislodge dentures.
- Sticky, dry foods – Such as peanut butter, caramel, dried fruit with seeds.
Even once adjusted to wearing dentures, caution is advised with very hard, sticky, crunchy or chewy foods. Slow down and chew carefully, cut foods into small pieces, and remove dentures if needed.
What are some healthy meal ideas for denture wearers?
Balancing adequate nutrition and ease of eating can be tricky with dentures. Here are some healthy meal ideas that provide key nutrients without compromising your dentures:
- Oatmeal made with milk, topped with chopped fruits like bananas or blueberries.
- Scrambled eggs with diced soft vegetables like spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms.
- Greek yogurt with creamy peanut butter and sliced ripe pears.
- Cottage cheese with canned peaches, pineapples, fruit cocktail.
- Texture softened lean beef, chicken or salmon salad on soft bread or crackers.
- Mashed avocado toast on moist whole wheat bread.
- Hearty soup or stew with soft cooked veggies and shredded chicken or beef.
- Macaroni and cheese with steamed broccoli or peas.
- Pasta with smooth sauce, plus soft cooked veggies like zucchini or canned tomatoes.
- Roasted salmon, mashed potatoes, creamed spinach.
- Shepherd’s pie with ground turkey and gravy topped with mashed potatoes.
- Chicken and rice casserole with peas and carrots.
Get creative combining soft proteins, tender produce, whole grains and dairy into meals that provide balanced nutrition within your denture limits.
Adjusting to eating with dentures can be challenging, but most people are eventually able to return to a normal diet. Have patience, start with soft foods cut into small pieces, use denture adhesives and cushioning pads, and chew slowly using your back teeth. Avoid very hard, sticky, chewy foods that can dislodge dentures. Introduce more textures gradually over weeks to months as your mouth adjusts. With practice, you can successfully adapt to enjoying all your favorite healthy foods again with properly fitted dentures.