Dentures, also known as ‘false teeth’, are made from plastic and molded to fit your mouth. Due to the hard material, it can feel uncomfortable and awkward for several weeks. While you’re getting used to the dentures, keep in mind that you will make more saliva, causing it to slip around and even rubbing the sore spots that are still healing in your mouth.
At Smile Well dental, home to some of the best dentists in Vancouver, we want you to be as comfortable with your new installations as possible. Follow the below tips by Dr. Shim to ensure your dentures feel like natural teeth in no time.
General Tips for Eating with Dentures
1. Eat Soft Foods – Avoid Hard Foods
While the dentures are still settling in, try not to bite using the front of your mouth. This can cause an imbalance during this sensitive period. The best way is to start with a liquid diet that includes purees and soft foods. Examples include:
- cooked cereals
- chopped boiled eggs
- Soup broth
Avoid hard foods at all times. Even when you’re ready to move on to solid foods, start by cutting your foods into tiny pieces before chewing. For the first few weeks, you might find that foods taste different with dentures. Your sense of taste should improve over time.
2. Brush and Floss Regularly
Over time, dentures will feel almost like natural teeth as they become part of your body and daily eating routine. This means you need to clean your dentures regularly just as you would with your natural teeth. “If you’re not careful, dentures can build up stains, plaque, and bacteria, leading to problems in the tissues underneath, such as infection and irritation,” says Dr. Shim. Here’s a quick nightly routine to follow:
- Brush – If you have partial dentures, brush your remaining natural teeth as well as your dentures. When cleaning your dentures, use a regular soft-bristled brush – not the same one you use for your real teeth. Regular hand soap, mild dishwashing detergent, mildly abrasive toothpaste and dental paste are all good choices to brush your dentures with.
- Floss – If you have partial dentures, you also need to properly floss your regular teeth every day. In general, you should not floss your dentures every day, as they need to be treated in a gentle manner. However, you might occasionally find that flossing can help to remove bits of debris from the denture that do not come clear with gentle brushing. Your dentist will be able to provide you with more tips during your regular follow up visits, usually twice a year.
- Rinse – Whether you have partial or complete dentures, you still need to care for your gums. Whenever you take out your dentures, give your mouth a good rinse and massage your gums with a washcloth or soft toothbrush.
3. Avoid Foods That Damage Dentures
Getting dentures can be quite a lengthy process and definitely not cheap. Therefore, when caring for your dentures, you should be aware of certain types and substances of foods that can be damaging to them. As you grow used to dentures, you will find it easier to eat pretty much anything, but that doesn’t mean it’s always good for your implants.
Here are some foods to stay away from:
- Sticky foods – peanut butter, caramel, and chewy candies (i.e. Starburst)
- Hard foods – nuts, apples, carrots, and corn on the cob
- Tough meats – beef chuck, brisket and shank (same for pork, lamb and venison)
- Foods with small, hard-to-eat pieces like popcorn kernels and sesame seeds
Stay away from these foods regularly (or as a whole) and you can avoid an expensive repair job in the near future.
4. Drink Liquids Often
When you’re first starting out, there are several things you may want to avoid in order to make the transition into denture life a bit easier. As you adjust, you will find your confidence growing and your ability to eat more diverse foods increasing.
At the beginning, however, it may be difficult to avoid all solid foods – even the ones that are good for you. For example, many dentists say whole grain bread and cereals are good for you, but they may stick to your teeth. Dr. Shim advises you to “eat them with liquids to make them easier to chew and swallow”.
Be careful with hot liquids and food, though, because sometimes it’s hard to judge the temperatures correctly due to the insulating quality of the denture. Also, don’t hold liquids in your mouth for a long time before swallowing. This can loosen bottom dentures.
5. Eating After Healing
Once you are fully adjusted to wearing and chewing with dentures, you should be able to eat almost anything. However, there may be some foods that will always be difficult to eat such as foods that are hard, sticky or contain small hard particles.
But as long as you follow our tips, plus some time and patience, you’ll be chewing and eating normally with your new dentures in no time. If you have any problems such as mouth sores that don’t heal, constant pain, or you just can’t get the hang of chewing with dentures, please visit your dentist for help as soon as possible.