Delicious Food That Your Dentures Hate (and other eating tips)
It can take some time to get used to your new dentures and there are a few lifestyle changes that you need to make to accommodate them. For instance, those teeth need to come out every night and be washed with cleaning solutions like XODENT. There’s no more brushing or flossing, but you’ll still need to soak and lightly scour.
More importantly, you’ll need to rethink your diet.
If you’re going from having no teeth, very few teeth, or decayed teeth to a mouth full of dentures, the transition will be relatively easy.
After all, many of the restrictions that were forced upon you because of your unhealthy teeth will remain with your dentures. You may be afforded more dietary freedom than before, as you now have strong and healthy teeth to chew and chomp with.
But don’t let those new pearly whites give you a false sense of security as you still need to avoid certain foods and treat others with caution.
In this guide, we’ll look at the best and worst foods for denture wearers, highlighting the ones that damage and dislodge, as well as the ones that are completely problem-free.
Worst: Peanut Butter
Nuts are small, hard, and break into lots of tough little pieces. In general, they’re not great if you have dentures and while you can usually blend or cook foods to make them better for your dentures, that isn’t the case here.
Peanut butter is incredibly viscous. Even if you don’t have dentures, it’s a tough substance to deal with. It sticks to your teeth, gums, and cheeks, and can be hard to remove. With dentures, it’s even worse.
A swipe of the tongue is not enough to remove that sticky spread from your teeth, and you may find that you need to pop them out and rinse them. You may even need a thorough clean just to catch every last drop of that sticky peanut butter (in which case, make sure you have some XODENT tablets to hand!).
Worst: Caramel Corn
Popcorn might be a great movie treat but it’s a terrible snack for denture wearers, and if you upgrade to caramel corn, you’ll make the problem worse.
If you’ve ever eaten popcorn, you’ll understand why.
Not only will you inevitably find yourself chomping down on un-popped kernels capable of chipping your teeth, but popped kernel skins and little bits of corn make a mess of your mouth. They stick to your gums, get lodged between teeth, and slip under your dentures.
Caramel corn is worse because those little pieces of corn are covered in a hard and sticky sugar topping. The little bits that get stuck between your teeth are already capable of promoting bacteria growth and if they’re covered in sugar, that problem will be amplified.
The sugar coating also creates a rough surface that can irritate your mouth and gums.
Worst: Poppy Seed Bagels
Poppy seeds are strange little things. They are produced by the same plant that gives us opium, from which we also get heroin, morphine, and codeine. If you gather enough of these seeds, it’s possible to extract a sizeable dose of this highly dangerous and addictive drug and because trace amounts exist in even the smallest doses, it’s possible to fail a drug test after eating a poppy seed bagel.
In other words, your local bakery could be the reason your employer thinks you’re a drug addict! But that’s not the only problem with poppy seeds.
These small and tough seeds get everywhere. Bite into that bagel, take a few chews, and you will unleash a cluster grenade of black seeds that get trapped between teeth and become lodged under your dentures. They can remain there all day and unless you thoroughly clean your dentures and rinse your mouth, they could remain well into the following day.
On the one hand, poppy seeds are high in fiber and healthy fats; on the other, they may cause more problems than they are worth, and you can always get those fats and that fiber from other foodstuffs.
Poppy seeds aren’t the only seeds that you need to be wary of. Seeds in general are small and hard and often have tough coatings that can become trapped between your teeth. They should be avoided if you want to prolong the life of your dentures and avoid any gum or mouth problems.
Worst: Tootsie Rolls
Tootsie Rolls are hard, chewy, and guaranteed to rip those dentures out of place. They are not the only problematic candies, but they are a great example of the sort of treats you should avoid.
They may look like little pieces of hard chocolate, but Tootsie Rolls are actually a mixture of sugar, syrup, condensed milk, oil, and cocoa—all the bad stuff, as far as your dentures are concerned.
Anything with a hard caramel or sticky sugar consistency should be avoided, including taffy and caramels. They pull at your teeth and the little sugary pieces can become lodged between and under those dentures, causing all kinds of problems.
Worst: Jolly Ranchers
Hard candies, like chewy candies, are very bad for your dentures. Chomping down on these boiled blocks of sugar will place a lot of pressure on your fake teeth, and as that pressure is focused on a small surface area, the risk of chips and cracks is high.
These little candies also shatter into many small and sticky pieces and these may become trapped in or under your dentures.
You don’t need to avoid sweet treats entirely, but you should think more about the ones you choose and how you eat them. Soft chocolates and candy bars like Mars are perfectly fine, and if you really like hard candies, just suck and resist the temptation to chew.
Worst: Roast Beef/Pork Chops
Tough steaks and pork chops are stereotypically bad for denture wearers. They’re the go-to foods that marketers use to showcase their denture adhesives and the ones that many denture-wearers are most concerned about.
The bad news is that they are just as challenging as you’d expect; the good news is that there are ways to make them more manageable.
The problem with tough meats is that they require a lot of tearing and most of that is done with your front teeth. You bite down with your incisors, pull and tear with all of your front teeth, and then chew with the sides of your mouth. The last bit is usually okay, but the first two are definitely not.
To make chops and steak easier, look for soft and prime cuts. If you’re not sure where to begin Texas A & M University has a guide devoted to “Meat Science”, where they outline the tenderness of certain cuts of meat based on the force required to chew them.
You should also cut the meat up into bitesize chunks, as this means you can scoop them into the sides of your mouth and avoid chewing and tearing with your front teeth.
Before you get your hopes up, we’re not about to tell you to avoid eating salad! It’s good for you, it’s low-calorie, and you need as much of it as you can get, but in the beginning, it can be problematic.
Salad leaves aren’t easy to chew with false teeth and this makes them difficult to chew into digestible pieces. In time, you may learn which leaves are more chewable, which ones should be avoided, and how best to approach them.
For instance, you may find that lettuce leaves are particularly problematic and need to be chopped or torn into smaller pieces, but that kale and spinach have enough depth to be chewed.
Apples aren’t the only offender, but they are a great example of how problematic raw fruits and vegetables can be. When you bite into an apple, you apply pressure to your incisors, and these are the weak points of your dentures. It only takes a little pressure here for those dentures to pop out.
You may be surprised to discover that instead of getting a fresh chunk of juicy apple, you just lost your dentures.
Carrots can also cause problems, although they’re not as big and so you can wedge them into the sides of your mouth.
Best: Soft Fruits and Vegetables
Whole fruits and vegetables should be treated with caution, but that doesn’t mean you need to avoid them altogether. Fruits and vegetables are packed full of fiber and nutrients and help you to meet your daily nutrient targets.
Instead of apples, opt for soft berries or bananas; instead of carrots, eat some bell peppers.
And if you really like those troublesome foods, try cooking them first.
Many denture wearers prefer to consume their fruits and vegetables in smoothie form, but while they’re good for your teeth they’re not great for your health.
The blending process can break down a lot of the insoluble fiber and speed-up the digestion process, thus removing some of the goodness of the fruit. Fruit juice is even worse, as it removes all of the fiber and leaves only the water, sugar, and many of the nutrients.
It may seem like an odd addition to this list but there’s a method to the madness, because if you’re abstaining from peanut butter and other nut butters, you might be looking for a creamy paste that’s high in protein and healthy fats, and hummus is perfect!
This Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern snack is made from chickpeas, tahini, and olive oil. The chickpeas are full of protein and fiber, the tahini and olive oil are a great source of healthy fats, and it’s an incredibly versatile food.
You can add it to a wrap or sandwich, grab some bread or carrot sticks for dipping, or dollop some on your burger.
Fish is high in protein and low in fat. If you opt for oily fish like mackerel and salmon, you’ll also get many of the healthy fats that you would otherwise get from seeds and nuts. More importantly, the flesh is soft and unless you’re a terrible cook or you’ve left the wrapper on, it shouldn’t be tough or chewy!
Of course, fish bones can be a problem, both for your mouth and dentures. Those bones are bothersome at the best of times and if you a sensitive mouth from wearing a brand-new set of dentures, those problems will worsen.
Make sure you thoroughly debone the fish before you cook it or cook fish with very small bones like cod and salmon.
Best: Pulled Pork
Pork chops might be challenging but you shouldn’t have any issues with pulled pork and other slow-roasted meats. They are soft, juicy, and melt in your mouth. Anything that falls off the bone after hours of cooking is perfectly safe for denture wearers.
You don’t need to chew a lot and you definitely don’t need to use your teeth to chomp and tear. And the great thing about pulled pork is that it’s much more versatile than a steak or pork chop.
You can add it to a sandwich, make a burger out of it, or enjoy it along with a handful of French fries and a side of Mac n Cheese!
Best Chewing Gum
Chewing gum may seem like a terrible idea if you wear dentures, but it’s actually one of the best things you can chew! It’s not tough, it’s not sticky, and it doesn’t break down and become trapped in your fake teeth!
More importantly, chewing gum stimulates the production of saliva and this is what creates the suction and ensures that your dentures remain in place.
Dry mouth is one of the many causes of loose and poor-fitting dentures and it becomes more common with age. The body is less efficient at staying hydrated and older people are also more likely to take medications that cause dry mouth, making chewing gum a simple and effective way to stay hydrated and keep those teeth in place.
As with real teeth, the act of chewing also helps to dislodge trapped pieces of food and keep oral bacteria and acidity to a minimum.
Choose a chewing gum recommended for denture wearers, preferably one with a minty flavor (to freshen your breath) and no sugar.
Brands like Freedent are often best for denture wearers and a product that we have discussed before in our guide on Foods to Avoid for Denture Wearers. It’s sugar-free, soft, and will freshen up your breath.
Why Some Foods are Problematic
As you can see, many of the problematic foods are sticky, tough, and hard. They pull and dislodge your dentures, weakening the grip and causing them to move around in your mouth and even fall out. It’s frustrating, irritating, and if you’re in a restaurant or at a dinner party, it’s also embarrassing.
That’s not the only issue, though. Foods can also get stuck underneath your dentures, where they rub against your mouth and gums. You will have many of the same issues with real teeth—the bits that stick to gums, become trapped in cheeks, and lodged in-between teeth—but they are worse with dentures.
If you chomp down on something hard, like a popcorn kernel, ice cube, or hard candy, you also risk chipping or cracking your dentures. Again, this is a common problem with real teeth and real enamel, and that’s the strongest substance in the human body, so imagine how much damage it causes to dentures!
Conclusion: Eating Safely with Dentures
Over time, you will learn how to eat safely with dentures and change your eating habits accordingly.
When you have a decayed and sensitive tooth, you subconsciously shift to the other side of your mouth, thus removing pressure from the tooth. When you have loose crowns or veneers in the front of your mouth, you chew more with your back teeth. It’s the same with dentures—you will adapt.
Here are some tips to help you out:
- Experiment by eating common foods at home. That way, if you’re at a dinner party and your friend serves you food on this list, you know how to approach it and don’t have to refuse it.
- Try to avoid chewing with your front teeth.
- Chop tough food into small pieces.
- Chew with both sides of your mouth at the same time.
At the end of every day, be sure to take your dentures out and clean them with a specially formulated denture cleaner, such as the kits sold here at XODENT. These will help to remove any bacteria that has formed on the dentures while removing trapped bits of food.
In the event that you bite too eagerly on a Jolly Rancher or pumpkin seed and you crack one of your teeth, contact your dentist straight away. Most denture problems can be repaired in just a few days and without major cost, but if you ignore the problem it could become worse and cost you a lot more.