One of the vital functions your dentures are supposed to perform is helping you chew your food. Unfortunately, that’s something that many dentures aren’t very good at. And now that we’re in BBQ season, it can really diminish your quality of life if you can’t eat steak or other challenging foods with your dentures.
How do you know if your dentures aren’t good at chewing? Here are some signs to watch out for. Some of them are obvious and some of them less so.
How to Chew with Dentures
Before you blame your dentures, it’s important to understand that you can’t chew normally with traditional dentures.Normal chewing follows a rotary pattern: you bite down, move your teeth sideways, open your teeth, then move your jaw back to the original position. If you try to chew this way with traditional dentures, however, it will dislodge your dentures.
When chewing with dentures, you have to use a simple up-and-down pattern. This is not as efficient, but it can still be adequate with quality dentures.
Dentures Don’t Stay in for Chewing
This is one of the most obvious signs your dentures aren’t chewing properly: they just don’t stay in place.
It’s important to remember that you have to learn to chew differently when you have dentures. Instead of chewing with an angled side-to-side motion, you have to chew just straight up and down. But once you’ve mastered that, your dentures should stay in place while you’re chewing. If they don’t, there’s a problem. Of course, you might want to avoid some of the more challenging foods for dentures. But if it’s not just these foods that are a problem, your dentures might be to blame.
Eating Takes a Lot Longer
Maybe you think everything is fine with your dentures. After all, they stay in place, and food seems to get broken down, but it’s taking you a lot longer to eat than it used to.
To some extent, you expect it to take longer to eat, but there is a limit. You just can’t sit around all day chewing–you want to enjoy other things in your lives. Besides, all the joy goes out of food when it’s been in your mouth for too long.
How many times should you chew? Well, that depends. There is a British maxim that you should chew each bite of food 32 times before swallowing, and Fletcherizers advocate chewing each bite 100 times. However, the average that people actually chew is about 15 times per bite, and this is normally sufficient. If you can’t break down your food in 15-17 chews per bite, you can tell that your dentures aren’t chewing efficiently.
You Gag and Choke More
Sometimes, dentures themselves can cause you to gag a lot. This can make it hard to eat and needs to be addressed.
Other times, though, you might notice that you’re gagging and choking more than in the past because your dentures aren’t breaking down food enough. Instead, large chunks of food are getting through into your throat, which can choke you. The first solution is to just take more time to chew, but, as we said above, there are limits to how long you want to be sitting around chewing each bite of food.
You Lose Weight
Most of us would love to lose a few pounds, but there’s a right and a wrong way to do it. Losing weight because your dentures don’t let you eat enough is definitely the wrong way!
Not only are you losing weight, but you’re probably missing out on nutrition as well. That’s not healthy.
Chewing is the first step in digestion, and if your dentures aren’t doing their job, your digestion as a whole may suffer. Some common digestive problems people experience with dentures include:
Heartburn or GERD
If you’re not chewing your food well enough, your stomach may have difficulty digesting the food. This can contribute to excessive acid levels or problems controlling your acid, which you’ll feel as heartburn, but is often called gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. Or you may just feel queasy because of the problems digesting.
Many people with dentures experience bad gas. Some of this gassiness is related to swallowing too much air, a condition known as aerophagia. The different chewing process with dentures makes it more likely that you’ll swallow more air with your food. But you’re also more likely to create gas because of inefficient chewing. Gas in the digestive system is caused when bacteria in your digestive tract break down food that your body isn’t digesting properly. If you’re not chewing properly, there’s more for them to break down, and this can lead to more gas.
People with dentures often develop constipation because they choose foods that are low in fiber. High fiber foods can be harder to eat. This means that people with dentures often have high-protein and high-fat diets without enough fiber.
Dentures Can Chew Efficiently
In the past, denture wearers had to accept that their dentures just couldn’t do the things that teeth can do. But now we have options for fully functional dentures. They don’t have to change the way you eat. FOY ® Dentures are designed to give optimal fit and foster healthy jaw function with dental implants since they secure dentures like natural teeth, allowing for optimal bite function. This way you can enjoy great food, even with dentures.