Tips for Eating With New Dentures

As a replacement for missing, diseased, or otherwise faulty teeth, dentures are man-made appliances that are custom-molded in plastic or metal. People who have dentures often praise them as one of the world's greatest inventions.

They may look great but can feel uncomfortable for several weeks as you get used to them. Plus, as you produce more saliva during this adjustment period, the denture might slip around. And this movement might cause a few sore spots to develop.

As you might guess, none of these realities make eating a mindless joy. But try to remember that while dentures can be permanent, the immediate discomfort they present is temporary.

This article explains the merits of following a so-called mechanical soft diet while you're getting used to your dentures. It also offers advice for transitioning back to your normal diet and cites the food you may wish to forever banish from your palate.

Dentures in a glass of water

Adam Gault / Getty Images

Mechanical Soft Diet

The first rule of thumb when wearing new dentures is to "take it easy" with food. Start slowly with soft foods that are don't require excessive chewing.

Eating red meat, crackers, raw carrots, and or anything crunchy will place undue stress on underlying gum tissues and increase the risk of irritation and inflammation.

Until your gums adapt to dentures, follow these simple self-help tips:

  • Start with a mechanical soft diet. The name stems from food being mechanically altered by blending, chopping, grinding, or mashing so that it is easy to chew and swallow. Pureed foods like applesauce, pudding, cooked cereal, scrambled eggs, and mashed potatoes provide the nutrition you need without compromising your gums or stressing your jaw muscles.
  • Check the foods' temperature. Be careful with hot foods that can burn your mouth. You won't be able to judge temperatures as well due to the insulating effect of the dentures. Test hot foods on your lips before putting them in your mouth.
  • Don't hold liquids in your mouth. Doing so can loosen bottom dentures.
  • Avoid spicy foods. If you do have sores or irritation, spice can cause burning or stinging.

Dietary suggestions

Among dairy, meat, and protein, try:

  • Scrambled eggs
  • Yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Soft cheese
  • Poached or broiled fish
  • Diced meatloaf
  • Tuna or egg salad
  • Shaved deli meat (like ham or turkey)

Among fruit, try:

  • Applesauce
  • Cooked fruit
  • Soft fruit like bananas, peaches, and melon (without the skins)

And among starches, try:

  • Oatmeal
  • Pancakes
  • Soft muffins or rolls
  • Potatoes
  • Pasta
  • Rice

You'll probably notice that the list of foods to avoid is longer. But check with your dentist for recommendations based on your particular circumstance.

Dentures Can Alter Taste

You may find that certain foods taste different with dentures, particularly salty and bitter foods. Try not to worry; your sense of taste should improve over time.

Returning to Your Normal Foods

It will take at least several weeks (maybe more) to adapt to your new dentures. But you must continue to be vigilant about what you eat and how you eat it.

No matter how solid your dentures are, remember that they are substitutes for teeth that were set solidly in your jawbone. By contrast, dentures merely rest against the gums.

When you're ready to make the transition back to your normal diet, be sure to:

  • Sit down while you eat. Rushing through a meal standing up could cause you to gulp down food before you chew it properly.
  • Cut your food into small or tiny pieces. You'll get used to it (and may even get full faster and eat less).
  • Chew on both sides of your mouth. Distribute your food evenly on both sides of the back of your mouth when you chew. It will help keep your dentures stable while you eat.
  • Drink with your meals. Whole-grain bread and cereal are good for you, but they may stick to your teeth. Eat them with liquids to make them easier to chew and swallow.
  • Avoid hard-to-chew meats. Replace tough red meats with poultry, fish, eggs, and legumes, or choose stewed or slow-cooked meats.
  • Avoid sticky or gummy foods. These include taffy, caramel, marshmallows treats, peanut butter, and raisins. These can adhere to the upper and lower molars (chewing teeth) and dislodge your dentures.

Choose Adhesive Carefully

The choice of denture adhesive is important. Adhesives in glue form tend to provide the greatest stability but can make cleaning difficult. Adhesive seals and powders offer less stability but easier clean-up, reducing the risk of gum irritation.

Whatever you do, take things slow and remember that a little soreness is to be expected as the muscles in your mouth and cheeks get used to keeping your dentures in place. Tell your dentist if pain or other problems do not go away.

Eating After Healing

Once you are fully adjusted to wearing dentures, you should be able to eat almost anything. However, there may be some foods that will always be difficult to eat, such as food that is hard, sticky, or tough.

Even with a strong mouth and well-fitting dentures, there are some foods you may wish to banish from your diet. Follow the advice of your dentist, who probably knows your situation better than anyone when it comes to:

  • Chewing gum
  • Corn on the cob
  • Crackers
  • Crunchy fruits
  • Crunchy peanut butter
  • Crusty bread
  • Popcorn
  • Raw vegetables
  • Sticky candy
  • Tough, stringy meats
  • Whole nuts

Summary

Adjusting to life with dentures can take time as your facial muscles adapt to changes in your bite and the altered position of your tongue, lips, and cheeks. Fortunately, there are things you can do to minimize these effects as your dentures settle in. Watching what you eat, as well as how you eat it, is a large part of the transition to dentures.

A Word From Verywell

Following a healthy diet requires the ability to chew your food, which isn't easy if you've just been fitted with dentures. But with time and a little patience, you should be able to chew and eat normally in a few weeks.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I eat steak with dentures?

    Not right away, but once you’ve adjusted to your dentures, you should be able to eat steak. Cook the steak to the right tenderness and then cut it into small pieces.

  • What do I do with my dentures after I eat?

    You don’t have to do anything immediately after eating. But you should clean your dentures every day, brushing them gently to remove food. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for soaking and disinfecting your dentures.

  • Is it hard to eat with partial dentures?

    It takes getting used to, but people with partial dentures often find them a better experience than trying to eat with missing teeth. Break in your dentures by starting with soft foods, avoiding hard or sticky foods, and chewing food on both sides of your mouth to balance the pressure.

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6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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