Adjusting to eating with dentures takes a little practice, but over time you should be able to return to your normal diet – with one or two exceptions. Dentures replace natural teeth, but they do not feel exactly the same. Although your mouth and tongue become accustomed to this new dental appliance, you will need to change how you handle your food.
New Tastes and Sensitivities
The Upstate Health Sciences Library explains the effects of dentures on teeth primarily relate to food's natural characteristics. Some may not taste the same, and your mouth may become less sensitive to hard food – putting your dentures at risk for breakage. You may find it necessary to add more seasoning to your meals, as well, and take special care not to eat or drink things that are too hot.
1. Take It Slow
Eating with natural teeth is different from eating with dentures, but taking it easy in the early stages can help you adjust. Eat soft foods, and cut them into bite-sized pieces before putting them in your mouth. You may also consider cutting food into thin strips, using both sides of your mouth to chew, and chewing more slowly.
2. Bite with Care
Similarly, cautions Georgia Regents University, avoid biting at the front of your mouth when you have dentures in. This causes the dentures to become unstable, which can make your gumline sore as they move around. If you have to bite down, do so using your canines (your "eye teeth").
3. Gaining Confidence
Over a few days or weeks, you will feel more comfortable eating with dentures. So when you feel ready, introduce firmer foods to your diet, while avoiding gum, hot foods or meals that contain shells or sharp bones. The American Dental Association (ADA) also recommends you continue to keep an even pressure in your mouth by chewing your food on both sides at the same time.
4. Long Term
Eating with dentures becomes a pleasant experience, and you will soon be able to eat nearly the same diet you upheld before. As your confidence grows, return to eating your normal range of foods, but prepare these foods correctly if they are hard or sticky by nature. These foods can always damage dentures, particularly implant-supported appliances. You may choose to avoid nuts and seeds, too, as they can slip under dentures and irritate the mouth, according to Upstate Medical University.
5. Removing Food from Dentures
Keep your dentures clean by removing them every day and brushing them with Colgate® 360°® Sensitive Pro-Relief™, or a similar soft-bristled toothbrush, to remove food deposits and prevent staining. Brush your gums, any remaining teeth and tongue at the same time. Keep in mind dentures should also be soaked overnight in denture cleaning solution so they can stay clean and don't dry out.
Eating with dentures is not as convenient as eating with natural teeth, but it is an efficient alternative. When you've become accustomed to your dentures, rest assured you can relax and enjoy a wide range of foods. As well as improving your smile, dentures can improve your quality of life.