Posted on: 01 June, 2021
Eating with dentures can take some time to get used to. Follow these tips from our Victoria Park dentists to make the transition easier and avoid problems.
5 minute read
Damaged and missing teeth can sometimes affect your ability to eat normally. This could mean you avoid certain foods, so you may not be getting all the nutrition you need to support your health, or not grinding your food properly, which can lead to problems with digestion.
Replacing your teeth with full or partial dentures can restore your smile and help you to eat normally again, but your dentist might recommend making a few changes to your diet. Read this guide to find out why dentures can affect what you eat, the best and worst foods for dentures and ideas for denture-friendly food swaps.
Dentures are designed by prosthetists to look, feel and function as much like natural teeth as possible, but they have limitations. This can depend on the type of material your dentures are made from and how they attach in your mouth.
Full dentures are typically made from acrylic (plastic) and partial dentures from both acrylic and metal (cobalt chrone). Metal dentures are stronger and capable of chewing and grinding harder foods than acrylic dentures.
Dentures that use suction to stay in your mouth or clips that attach them to surrounding teeth may be dislodged by sticky or chewy foods. Dentures that clip onto dental implants are far more stable and won't require any changes to your diet after you heal from surgery. This is because dental implants improve your chewing ability far greater than dentures can.
Want to find out if you're a suitable candidate for dental implants? Contact our team today to book your consultation. Call (08) 9470 3944.
To keep your dentures from coming loose or getting damaged, we recommend avoiding the following food groups as much as possible.
Biting into very hard foods such as nuts and unpopped popcorn or non-food objects such as pens and fingernails can damage dentures, just as they can chip or crack teeth. You should also avoid foods with seeds that may be accidentally bitten into, such as whole fruits and seeded bread.
Hard foods such as raw carrots, corn on the cob and fresh apples also take more pressure to bite into, and this pressure isn't evenly distributed in your mouth. This may cause dentures to dislodge or feel loose, which could be painful.
If you enjoy sweet and sticky treats like lollies, toffee and caramel, dried fruit, marshmallows or peanut butter, eating these with dentures could cause them to dislodge, which could causeinconvenience or require a trip to the dentist.
Leftover sticky foods can also be harder to remove from dentures than from teeth, which increases their contact with the gums. This can lead to irritation of the gums or oral health problems such as tooth decay and gum disease, especially when the food is high in sugar.
Steak, chops, ribs and other meat that takes a lot of chewing can put a lot of stress on dentures and the underlying gums. This can lead to sore spots forming on the gum, which can make wearing dentures feel uncomfortable.
Preparing these foods very soft to reduce the amount of chewing (such as slow cooking or sous vide) can help you enjoy them without the added pressure on your teeth.
Part of keeping dentures in optimal condition is avoiding food and drinks that stain. This can happen when dentures are exposed to dark pigments in food and drink, just like it happens to natural teeth.
To keep your dentures naturally white, try to avoid food and drink with strong pigments, such as tea and coffee, red wine, berries and dark sauces. Smoking should also be avoided, as it can stain dentures and increase the risks for many oral health and general health problems.
When you're used to how your dentures feel, you should be able to eat most of your favourite foods without making too many sacrifices, and even hard and chewy foods may be enjoyed in moderation if you prepare them softer and take good care of your oral hygiene.
Healthy and tasty foods that are safe for dentures include:
If you don't like the idea of giving up certain foods, try these 8 denture-friendly alternatives to enjoy similar tastes or textures without damaging your dentures.
Crunchy fruit and veggies are great for teeth, but not so much for dentures. Blending whole fruits preserves the flavour and the nutrients without risking damage to your dentures.
Chewing through a tough steak can be an ordeal for dentures, gums and jaws. Ease the strain by cutting up your steak into smaller pieces or switching to minced beef or lighter meats that are easier to grind. You can even sous-vide your meat at home if you’re a steak lover. Many restaurants today will sous-vide steak cuts to make them as soft as possible. This cooking method vacuum-seals meat in a bag that is slowly cooked in a temperature-controlled water bath. It helps retain natural juices and nutrients within the meat so, when you bite into it, the meat melts in your mouth.
Whole seeds can get stuck between dentures or cause damage, so they're best avoided. You can still get the health and taste benefits of a seeded loaf by choosing whole grain bread with the grains baked in.
Nuts can also get trapped in dentures, as well as being hard to bite. If you like olives, these make a softer substitute, as long as the seeds are removed. The same goes for grapes and berries, though the latter have strong pigments that may stain dentures over time.
Anything that creates suction can risk dentures coming loose. Removing sticky peanut butter from dentures can be more frustrating than getting it off teeth. Hummus and meat or fish spreads are healthier, less sticky and still high in protein.
Sticky lollies aren’t good news for natural or false teeth, but you don't have to give up everything sweet. Chocolate is a safer alternative that's easier to rinse away – just take care to avoid nuts.
Hard popcorn kernels can damage dentures and be very painful if they get trapped between the denture and the gum. Vegetable, chickpea or lentil chips are a safer option, but it's important to rinse your mouth and clean your dentures to make sure you're getting rid of any shards.
Tea and coffee can stain dentures over time, and the caffeine can cause dehydration that can lead to a dry mouth. Reducing your intake or switching to decaffeinated varieties can lower this risk, and you should also make sure you're drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
The main time you need to watch what you eat with dentures is shortly after they're fitted, as this is when they're more likely to come loose. Your dentist will give you recommendations for foods to avoid during each stage of your recovery.
If you're having dentures fitted for the first time, it can take the gums at least a few days to get used to how the dentures feel, especially when you're eating.
If you're having immediate dentures fitted after tooth extractions, your gums may also feel sore or swollen for a few days or longer, so it's especially important to treat them with care.
During your recovery, you should only eat soft foods such as:
If you don't feel comfortable trying solid food just yet, choose nutritious liquid foods such as:
Take care with hot food and drink, as you won't be able to judge the temperature so easily with dentures and could risk burning your gums. You should also swallow liquids quickly, as holding them in your mouth could loosen your dentures.
If you feel ready to tackle solid food after a few days, you can try soft options such as rice and pasta, soft breads, skinned fish and meat and vegetables softened in a soup or slow cooked.
Avoid hard, chewy, crunchy, sticky or spicy food and alcohol while your mouth is sore or healing. To get used to the feeling of dentures, you should also:
You might find that your sense of taste has reduced if you have full upper denture fitted, this is because an upper denture covers the entire palate that plays a role in taste and smell. This is usually only temporary as your brain adjusts to wearing dentures and your taste should return before long.
If you have any other problems with your dentures, such as pain or sores that won't heal, make an appointment with an emergency dentist so you can get the care you need.
EVP Dental is proudly home to one of Perth's most experienced denture prosthetists. Do you have more questions about dentures, or are you looking for a reline or a repair? Call EVP Dental today on (08) 9470 3944 or book online so we can help you today.