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Helping Your Parent Adjust to Dentures

Q: My mom just got dentures, and she’s having trouble chewing. How can I help?

A: There are lots of little ways you can help your mom adjust. Try cutting her meals into small pieces or cooking softer foods.

Advise her to use both sides of her mouth at the same time while she chews, so her dentures don’t wiggle. Tell her not to chew with the front of her teeth, which will tip the dentures. Instead of tough red meats, opt for softer proteins such as poultry, fish, eggs, and legumes. Avoid small nuts that have a way of getting underneath the dentures and causing discomfort (such as peanuts and almonds).

Chewing with dentures is challenging at first. That’s totally normal. A little practice with the new set of teeth is all your mom needs. Eventually, she should be able to eat the same foods she did before. She might just have to chew slower than she used to. Unfortunately, hard and sticky foods may still be trickier to eat, even over the long term. A little patience and preparation go a long way when planning your meals. The other option is denture adhesives, which may not be necessary, but could give your mom more confidence that the dentures will stay in place while she eats.

If problems with chewing persist or worsen, check with your dentist to make sure the dentures fit properly. The fit of the dentures could be making chewing more difficult.

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