Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate: Dr. Cynthia Speaks!

Topic: Nutrition, Bad Teeth, and Dentures

Caregivers, have you check on your loved one’s mouth often, if not daily. Did you know bad teeth and poorly fitted dentures and painful gums can affect nutrition? Did you also know there are foods that are problematic with dentures and bad teeth? Maintaining a usual diet could have challenges to enjoying favorite foods. This does not suggest you have to forgo the array of foods you may like. We know what happens when someone tells us” NO.” We want it even more, RIGHT? What to eat with a less than perfect mouth set of choppers may surprise you. Food is one of the most enjoyable times in our lives, and seniors are no exception. We have to be creative.

Popcorn and nuts, a favorite snack, can be a monster in a mouth with poor dentition. Hard foods are hard to chew and be hurt the gums causing pain and may stop a senior from eating.

Steak, often a tough piece of meat, requires a lot of work and pressure to chew. Sore gums, loose teeth, ill-fitting dentures make this food choice questionable. If eaten, please cut it up into tiny pieces. Tenderizing steak is the name of the steak game.

Fruits and vegetables must always be a part of our diet, but if eaten raw, they might be had to chew if the teeth and dentures are problematic. Apples, con-on-the-cob, apples, and pears can hurt when chewed. So steam them, back them, broil them and enjoy them.

As Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate, I would suggest always going slow as you eat or feed your loved-one. Avoid eating hard, sticky, or crunchy foods to reduce the chances of breaking loose teeth, breaking your dentures, or hurting your gums. Softer foods will always win out. Small bite-size pieces of food for seniors are best. If gum irritation, loose teeth, ill-fitting dentures are discovered, please see an orthodontist for care and treatment. Finally, it’s essential to clean your mouth, teeth and dentures every day.

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Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman

Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman

Dr. Hickman is the author of From the Lens of Daughter, Nurse, and Caregiver: A Journey of Duty and Honor and The Black Book of Important for Caregivers.