Dentures are a man-made set of teeth designed to replace the lack of natural teeth. First-time denture wearers oftentimes complain that they’re not comfortable, it hurts to chew, nothing tastes good, and they can’t drink or take pills.
While they’re effective in providing you with a beautiful smile, there’s no denying that they may require a period of transition in which you will need to adjust to the way they fit, feel, and more importantly, learn how to eat again.
If you’re having a hard time eating with your new dentures, follow the tips in this article. With patience and practice, you’ll be able to continue enjoying your favorite foods again in no time!
Is it difficult to eat with dentures?
There are several reasons why it’s difficult to eat with new dentures.
1. If you’ve just had your teeth extracted, your gums and jaw are going to be swollen and sore. It will take time to heal, and for your lips, tongue, and facial muscles to adjust, before eating feels comfortable again.
To prevent adding more pressure to your sensitive gums and mouth, eat soft foods during the first few days. Once the swelling decreases, you’ll have to modify your eating habits and retrain your jaw muscles to chew.
Your mouth may produce more saliva in the beginning, which may cause your dentures to slip, but this will normalize over time. Apart from swelling, your may experience sore spots and bone chips (or splinters). If they don’t heal over time, your dentist may need to adjust your denture.
2. The bite force that dentures provide is much weaker than natural teeth and dental implants. This is because dentures rest over the gums, rather than teeth and implants whose roots are anchored to the jaw bone.
Also, with traditional dentures, chewing capacity is decreased by 50%. You may want to consider implant-supported dentures as an alternative.
3. As your mouth heals, the swelling of your gums will diminish, and your bone density will decrease. Your immediate dentures will become loose, at which point you may need to use dental adhesives to prevent uncomfortable chewing or have your dentures adjusted by your dentist.
Tips on eating with dentures
1. Start eating soft foods and work your way up to solid foods as your gums begin to heal.
2. Cut your food into very small pieces to lessen the chewing process. Sometimes it’s better to cut foods you would normally bite into, like a sandwich, an apple, or corn on the cob.
3. Take smaller bites of food at a time to prevent accidentally swallowing large pieces and risk choking.
4. Do not chew with your front teeth. This will prevent your dentures from dislodging.
5. Chew food evenly and thoroughly. Rather than biting down on the same side all the time, chew on both sides to distribute the biting pressure evenly.
6. Chew slowly with an up and down motion, rather than side to side, to keep your dentures in place. Chew carefully to prevent pinching your gums and cheeks.
7. Beware of hot foods and liquids. Your dentures have an insulating effect in your mouth so test the temperature of the food against your lips to make sure that it won’t burn you. Heat can loosen your dentures over time. Spicy foods are also a no-no, at least while your mouth is still healing because they can irritate your gums.
8. Drink with your food. Drinking water can make it easier to chew and will help keep certain foods from getting stuck in your dentures. Swallow liquids quickly to prevent your bottom dentures from becoming loose.
9. Note that the flavor of food may change, especially while your mouth is initially getting used to new dentures. Your sense of taste should return to normal over time.
10. A dental adhesive may be necessary if the dentures feel loose.
List of the best and worst foods to eat with dentures
Ideal foods to eat with dentures
When you first get dentures, you’ll want to start with a diet that is comprised of liquid, pureed, or soft foods. These are some of the best options.
In the first week or two:
- Soft cheeses
- Cooked eggs
- Cooked oatmeal
- Ice cream
Within the first month:
- Cooked pasta and rice
- Soups and stews, just make sure they’re not too hot (in temperature)
- Boiled, steamed, or roasted veggies
- Ground meats
- Soft fruits, like banana and mango
Worst foods to eat with new dentures
Until your mouth gets used to your dentures, it’s recommended to avoid any foods that are hard, crunchy, chewy, sticky, sour, or spicy. Even after your gums have healed, it’s best to eat the following foods with caution.
- Nuts and nut butter
- Granola bars
- Hard veggies, like raw carrots and celery
- Pretzels, chips, and crackers
- Bagels and hard crusty bread
- Anything with seeds
- Dried fruit
- Chewing gum
- Tough meats
- Whole fresh fruits that are hard or have seeds
- Pizza, burgers, or anything you have to chew into
- Hard, gummy, and sticky candies
- Excessively hot drinks
How long does it take to learn to eat with dentures?
While every person’s experience can be different, it generally takes an average of 30 days to adjust to eating with new dentures. Some level of discomfort is normal and expected in the beginning, so be patient and give your jaw and gums the time they need to heal.
Contact your dentist if the pain is persistent or gets worse over time.
Eat comfortably with implant-supported dentures
After your teeth have been extracted, your gums and jaw can take up to a year to heal completely. As the swelling goes down and your jawbone resorbs, the dentures are likely to become loose and need to be realigned every few years.
In other words, you may have to go back to your dentist for periodic realignments every few years. The good news is that this process can be avoided with implant-supported dentures.
Implant-supported dentures are the closest thing to natural teeth. Since they’re entirely supported by dental implants (metal rods that are inserted into the jaw), you’ll be able to chew hard-to-eat foods without putting pressure on the gums.
Dental implants provide the best solution for ensuring you’re able to eat comfortably for decades to come.
Kootenai Dental Group welcomes patients from Coeur D’Alene, ID, and the surrounding communities. Our dental specialists are ready to answer any questions you may have about implant-supported dentures and other treatment options.
Give us a call today at 208-762-8750 to schedule your consultation!