Partial dentures are a practical and economical way to replace your missing teeth. They allow you to restore your smile and regain confidence in social situations. In addition, partial dentures help you break down and digest foods, improving your overall health and nutrition.
With all of that being said, eating with partial dentures can be a difficult proposition, and take time and patience on your part to learn how to use them to your best advantage.
Tips to Make Eating with Partial Dentures Easier
Whether learning to eat with partial dentures for the very first time or re-learning to wear new partial dentures, the process is the same. Begin with soft foods that are easy to chew. Start with filling, nutritious foods that require minimal chewing, such as soups, cooked cereals, yogurt, or scrambled eggs. Gradually build up to well-steamed vegetables, soft fruits, braised meats, or baked fish. Cutting the food into smaller bites than you were previously accustomed to will allow you to progress to more tough, difficult-to-eat foods.
What Food Should You Avoid?
Maybe “avoid” is not the right word because it implies that you will never enjoy a particular food again. Perhaps a better way to think about learning to eat with partial dentures is, to begin with, a “can-do” attitude as you re-learn to eat. Accept that there are some foods that you will never fully master. Don’t beat yourself up over it.
The most difficult foods to chew fall into six categories. These foods are often more difficult to chew for people who have a full compliment of teeth. Removable partial denture wearers have to deal with the added bulk of the partial itself. Plus, artificial teeth don’t cut the food as well as their natural counterparts.
Foods like peanut butter, white loaf bread, and gummy candies can be a challenge. Because of their consistency, these foods can allow the denture to slip slightly while chewing. This allows food particles to get under the partial, causing sore spots on the gums, especially if the clasps are loose. Before attempting to eat sticky foods, make sure your partial has been properly adjusted by your dental professional.
Tough cuts of meat
Steak is one of the most difficult cuts of meat to chew. Eating a steak with artificial teeth is even more difficult because the false teeth mash the food rather than cut into it. Eating food that is too tough for you to properly chew can lead to digestive problems and improper nutrition.
As a dentist, I have heard many complaints from patients who have tried to chew gum advertised not to stick to dental work. Any type of chewing gum is going to get wrapped around the clasps and under the partial. Patients who say they can chew gum with false teeth have obviously mastered a difficult art, if not impossible, for most people to achieve.
Nuts and Seeds
Crackers and bread topped with seeds, seeds from berries, and nuts will get under the partial, causing sores on your gums. Popcorn is a multi-faceted problem food. It often has tough hulls that become lodged between teeth or get under the partial denture. In addition, rarely do all of the kernels pop, leaving “widows” that can break the partial when you bite down. These foods are best avoided.
Foods that require biting off a piece before chewing
If partials are being used to replace your front teeth, biting into an apple or corn on the cob may not be possible. If you enjoy these foods, attempt smaller than usual bites. Better still, use utensils to cut the food into small pieces before attempting to eat them.
Chewy foods, like caramel and taffy, will easily stick to your partial, causing it to dislodge during chewing. When a partial denture becomes dislodged, damage to both the partial denture and to your gums can happen in the blink of an eye. Chewy foods are better enjoyed with the partial removed from your mouth.
Success is Achievable
In order to succeed while eating with partial dentures, begin with a realistic idea of what is possible to eat with a removable appliance. Accept that not all foods can be eaten with partial dentures. There are certain inherent limitations and a steep learning curve if you master chewing your favorite foods with partials.
The staff and denturists at European Denture Center are available to help you transition to wearing partial dentures by offering you the best partial denture options suited for your unique situation. We offer various partial denture styles and tooth replacement solutions that will help you live your best life.