You can eat with dentures, but it does take some practice. You'll have an adjustment period when you first get either complete or partial dentures. It will take some time for you to learn how to chew certain things, especially hard or chewy foods.

We have a few tips and tricks to get started using your new dentures.

How to eat with dentures?

Full upper dentures

Picture by Authority Dental under CC 2.0 license

Eventually, you'll be able to eat almost everything you could when you had your natural teeth. However, it's best to start using your dentures slowly to avoid sore spots and mouth sores. Everyone handles the transition to dentures differently, so use this as a guide, but go at whatever pace is comfortable for you. Don't rush the process - you'll end up frustrated and maybe even in pain.

Start with soft foods

You should start by trying softer food. This is especially true if you also had recent tooth extractions, as is the case with immediate dentures. Sore spots are inevitable, and you will need your dentist to make some denture adjustments. However, sticking to foods like smoothies, mashed potatoes, pudding, apple sauce, yogurt, oatmeal, and soup broths is a good idea to start.

Chew on both sides

Possibly the biggest adjustment you'll have is learning to chew on both sides of your mouth. Most of the time, we put our food on one side. However, if you do that, your denture will rock and probably become dislodged. The rocking movement will cause whatever suction (from your palate) or adhesive to come loose. If you can chew on both sides, it helps to spread the biting forces out more evenly.

Limit using front teeth

Unless you have implant-retained dentures, you should not use your front teeth to bite into foods. This will also cause the front part of your denture to take all the pressure, which could dislodge the back part. You should cut your food into bite-sized pieces and place them towards the back of your denture when eating.

Use denture adhesive

Adhesive is a great way to stabilize a loose or ill-fitting denture. It can be used on both the lower or upper dentures and will help it stay in place. Be sure to clean the adhesive out of your denture every evening before you go to bed.

Be patient

It will take practice and patience to get used to eating with your denture. Don't expect to master the skill in one day or even one week. Eventually, though, eating will come just as naturally as it did with your other teeth.

If you had teeth extracted, you should expect the healing process and the adjustment phase to be longer. It could take several weeks just to get your mouth used to wearing dentures, and to alleviate any sharp spots. After an extraction, the bone goes through remodeling, so it's common to need period adjustments for the first few months.

Dietary suggestions for denture wearers

Putting denture into the mouth

Picture by Authority Dental under CC 2.0 license

You can eat almost anything with dentures, as long as you do so in the right way. However, there are some foods that are better for dentures, and some foods you should try to avoid.

What can you eat

You can eat all kinds of soft foods with your denture. The important thing is to make sure that you're eating a proper diet full of good nutrition. We already mentioned some great food to start with, but as you get used to your dentures, you can add more foods into the mix. Try foods such as:

  • pasta,

  • rice,

  • soup with soft meats and vegetables,

  • soft bread,

  • fish (no skin),

  • cooked beans,

  • slow-cooked, tender meats,

  • ground meats,

  • protein spread (like peanut butter),

  • ripe fruits,

  • cooked vegetables.

Foods to avoid

If you want your dentures to endure a long period, there are some foods you should avoid. This includes hard and sticky foods, which could cause your denture to crack or break. Try to avoid eating foods from this list:

  • nuts,

  • sticky candy,

  • popcorn,

  • steak.

You should also avoid beverages that could stain your dentures, like coffee, dark teas, and red wines. But, if you simply can't go without those beverages, just be sure to drink them in one sitting and rinse your denture when you are finished. If your dentures do get stained, there are cleaning solutions you can use to remove the stain and restore their original color.

FAQ

Why is it so hard to eat with dentures?

It can be hard to eat with dentures due to soreness, and the overall newness of the appliance. At first, you may bite your cheeks, salivate excessively, or even gag. Some people find it harder to eat with dentures than others and those with severe gag reflexes may not be able to use a denture at all.

How long till you can eat solid food after getting dentures?

You should wait at least 3-4 weeks to eat solid food with your dentures. You may need to wait longer if you had multiple extractions or are still experiencing sore areas.

Can you taste food with dentures?

You can taste food with a denture, but probably not as much as you could without a denture. If you have a maxillary denture that covers your palate, it will cover all the taste buds you have on the roof of your mouth. However, if you have a U-shaped maxillary denture, your taste will not be affected.

References

  1. Eating advice for complete denture wearers - BDJ
  2. Mechanical Soft Diet - UWHealth
  3. Denture Wearing and Malnutrition Risk Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults - MDPI