Almost 38 million of us are expected to be wearing dentures by 2020…
…according to the results of a study that appeared in the Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry, making this method of replacing teeth one of the most common dental procedures performed in the United States.
While great advances in dentistry now give patients other options—including sophisticated implants—the costs for these procedures are usually prohibitive (approximately $3,500 for a single implant) and out of reach for many. Plus, implants are invasive, and can create major problems if not inserted by highly quality dental surgeons.
When given the choice between dentures and not having a full set of teeth, however, dentures are a godsend. They also provide overall mouth coverage, compared to bridges or crowns, and are easy to clean so food doesn’t get trapped in them. This helps our gums stay healthy, too.
Getting used to a foreign object in the mouth can, of course, take a while. Although it may seem obvious, avoiding chewy or hard foods, such as steak and chewing gum, will definitely help new denture wearers to get adjusted. Food should be cut into small, bite-size pieces and chewed slowly on both sides of your mouth, which will help to keep the new teeth in place, since tipping and dislodging are both common problems at first. Denture adhesive also will help them to stay in place. And don’t use toothpicks!
Soups, smoothies, boiled vegetables and soft fruits, fish and well-cooked pasta are the ideal foods for new denture wearers. Besides satisfying all your nutritional needs, these foods won’t get stuck in the dentures and will keep chewing to a minimum. Of course, every one of these foods can be prepared so that flavor is never sacrificed. Think pasta with pesto; velvety pumpkin soup with nutmeg; fish curry with rice.
As you get used to your new teeth, you can gradually move onto more solid foods and continue to use denture adhesive to prevent slippage. A range of different products is available that can be applied to the dentures to keep them in place, as well as to clean them after a day’s wear. Remember not to rush back into old eating habits and be patient, which will give you the time to create a technique that allows you to eat happily and heartily with your new dentures.