Denture Do’s and Don’ts
What with big name discoveries like fire, the wheel, and the internet, there are a few human breakthroughs that perhaps don’t get quite the limelight that they deserve.
When all is said and done, how lucky are we that we live in an age which gives us a second chance at teeth? Drink a little too much fizzy stuff when you were younger? Treated yourself to a few too many cigarettes? If your mouth is starting to get a little gappy, you needn’t worry – dentures are here to save the day.
While they are a fantastic innovation, dentures aren’t a perfect surrogate for teeth. There are certain foods that aren’t particularly denture friendly, and avoiding these morsels will ensure you and your denture’s relationship will remain strong for years to come.
Seeing as though your dentures are taking care of you, you should really do your best to take care of them. Let’s have a look at five foods that denture owners should really avoid, and their possible substitutes.
1) Tea and Coffee
Don’t burn me at the stake just yet – there’s no harm in starting your day with a warm cuppa. Coffee and tea won’t hurt in moderation, and as far as staining goes, your dentures won’t be any more affected than your natural teeth will. The problems start after you’ve downed the morning mug.
Both tea and coffee are diuretics, meaning that they will dehydrate you and dry out your mouth. Your dentures rely on a steady flow of saliva to stay comfortable, so excessive dryness will result in excessive discomfort.
The Smart Substitute: Caffeine is the aggressor in these situations, so switching to decaf or a less-caffeinated tea will help.
One of the major issues with dentures is that they are susceptible to getting pieces of food stuck under them. Foods that traditionally get stuck in a person’s natural teeth will be tricky to deal with if you wear dentures. And, as any movie-goer will tell you, nothing is quite so invasive as our buttery pal, popcorn.
The sharp and hard kernel shell is an expert in getting in and under dentures, resulting in an unpleasant feeling for the wearer. For your own sanity, stay away from the popcorn.
The Smart Substitute: If you’re craving something salty, how about an air-puffed crisp? You get the familiar feeling of popcorn, without the sharp bits.
This should be a no-brainer, but anything that is violently sticky and requires an inordinate amount of chewing to break down will spell trouble for denture wearers. Toffees and other sticky/chewy foods are out, as they will instantly dislodge your teeth.
The Smart Substitute: For a sweet and chewable option that won’t glue itself to your dentures, why not try sugar-free gum?
Again, I can sense the steak lovers reaching for their pitchforks and flaming torches. A moment to explain myself please. You’ll still be able to enjoy a steak while wearing dentures, but you’ll just have to be careful as to how you ingest it.
You can’t tear into a huge slice of meat as you may have in the past. You’ll need to attack your steak in small bites, and ensure that it is a tender cut. Aggressively chewing at large chunks will not only increase the risk of dislodging your dentures, but you may also find yourself creating sore spots on your gums by using so much pressure.
The Smart Substitute: While minced meats and chicken will be easier options, cutting your steak into small bites may be all that is needed.
Nuts about nuts? Unfortunately, your dentures aren’t. Denture use relies on the wearer chewing evenly on each side so as not to dislodge the prosthetic. The way most people eat nuts, you’ll put them in a cheek and only ever engage one side.
Nuts will also create a lot of residue in the mouth that can work its way under your dentures, causing pain.
The Smart Substitute: Pitted olives may be worth a try, or if you’re open to something sweeter, grapes or berries.
While you may not have quite the freedom that you did with your natural teeth, dentures still give you amazing access to foods that would be otherwise totally off limits. Eating with dentures needn’t be joyless. It should be as fun as it was before you had them.
All I ask is that you just take that steak one bite at a time.