Transitioning to dentures can be incredibly challenging, especially during the formative stages of this change. These appliances require the development and use of all new muscles for talking, chewing and making a variety of facial expressions. As a result, people often struggle with eating and find it tiring and even painful to masticate hard, crunchy and chewy foods. Vancouver senior care experts recommend the following tips to help make the adjustment process much easier for your senior loved one.
1. Cut Foods into Small, Bite-Sized Pieces
Caregivers in Vancouver should take the time to cut foods into very small pieces to limit the amount of chewing seniors have to do in order to avoid choking and to ensure good digestion. It is important for seniors to limit the use of the front teeth for biting until the jaw muscles have strengthened and the dentures have been adjusted to account for gradual gum shrinkage. Bite-sized pieces of food make it unnecessary for seniors to use the front teeth for ripping and tearing during this time.
2. Choose the Right Foods
Sore gums and tired jaws make it best to avoid tough, crunchy and chewy foods. Rather than dining on beef or chicken, seniors can have fish, nut butters or eggs for protein. Vegetables can be cooked until tender and fruits can be cut into small, bite-sized pieces or pureed.
3. Try Five Small Meals
Although most people are conditioned to eat three, relatively large meals each day, it is often better to consume five small ones when adjusting to new dentures. Each meal is an intense workout for the jaws and the facial muscles. Five smaller meals will increase the efficacy of this training without increasing senior discomfort. It will also make mealtime seem much less intimidating for people who feel too sore and tired to chew.
4. Alleviate Swelling by Keeping Dentures In
When seniors have one or more teeth pulled before getting their dentures, bleeding and inflammation can be minimized by keeping the dentures in at all times. For seniors who are new to dentures, sleeping with these appliances in the mouth can also limit nighttime breathing issues throughout the adjustment period. These structures will prevent the palate and soft tissues from sealing together and closing the airway. As swelling abates and seniors adapt to their new teeth, they can work towards keeping the dentures out all night.
5. Experiment with Adhesives
Getting a solid and secure fit with dentures is essential for good nutrition and chewing ease. Seniors can try denture glues, pastes or adhesive pads. Devices that are extremely loose should be taken to the dentist for adjustment. As gum shrinkage occurs, denture adjustments are often necessary for keeping the teeth firmly affixed in place.
If your senior loved one needs extra help with the activities of daily living like grocery shopping, cooking, and mealtime, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We are a trusted provider of hourly and live-in care in Vancouver, and our experienced caregivers can ensure your loved one has the care and support needed to remain safely in the comfort of home. Call us today at to schedule a complimentary in-home consultation.