What to eat if you have dentures or are recovering from dental surgery

Woman checking teeth in mirror while dentist works

If you have issues with your teeth, it makes sense that you may find it difficult to chew and consume certain foods.

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone; 75% of UK adults don’t have a full set of teeth (i.e. have at least one missing). And according to recent statistics, 3 million tooth extractions were performed by the NHS between 2018 and 2019.

Dental issues and chewing

If you’re preparing to have dentures fitted, or already have them and are struggling to chew certain foods, you may feel frustrated about your choices at mealtimes. Perhaps you’ve recently had (or are about to have) a tooth extraction or root canal surgery. Even a bout of toothache can cause pain when chewing.

Alongside the discomfort, you may also feel self-conscious about eating with others at mealtimes if you have chewing difficulties.

If you are experiencing pain when chewing because of dental issues, you might not feel like eating at all. But the good news is that you can make adjustments to your diet to ensure you’re still able to fuel your body and ease the pain.

What to eat when you have dentures

Having missing teeth can cause problems with eating and speech, so many people turn to false teeth – dentures – as a way of avoiding these problems. Dentures can be partial, to replace one or a few missing teeth, or can be a complete set of upper or lower dentures.

Having dentures fitted can help in a number of ways, from improving your confidence in your smile, through to improving your speech and eating ability.

However, when you first have dentures fitted, you may have some initial discomfort as the dentures feel a little strange. While you’re getting used to dentures, the NHS recommends that you eat soft foods, and cut large pieces down into smaller chunks.  You’ll need to chew on both sides of your mouth to avoid the denture moving. You should avoid hard and sticky foods, as well as chewing gum.

As you get more used to the dentures, you should be able to gradually work your way back to your previous diet.

What to eat after dental surgery or a tooth extraction, or if you have toothache

If your chewing problems or discomfort are caused by toothache or a medical procedure such as root canal surgery or tooth extraction, you may need to eat softer foods to ease the amount of pressure on your teeth.

The following foods are soft and easier to chew and swallow in such situations:

  • Soups
  • Porridge
  • Yoghurt
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Pureed vegetables
  • Fruit smoothies

To avoid aggravating the teeth or sensitive gums, avoid hard foods like nuts or boiled sweets, and stay away from sticky foods like toffee and chewing gum.

A convenient solution for long- and short-term chewing issues

Of course, being limited to softer foods can quickly become boring at best, and at worst can mean you’re missing out on key nutrients and a balanced diet.

Fortunately, our Soft Meals range – developed with Birds Eye – provide a nutritious, balanced meal which is easy to prepare and tastes delicious. We have a range of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes available, and they can be delivered on a day to suit you within as little as two working days.

You can also try Ensure nutritional drinks as a convenient way of fuelling yourself at home or on-the-go.

Seek help if you develop sudden chewing pain or problems

When you undergo dental work or surgery, you can likely expect to feel some discomfort afterwards. However, if you develop sudden pain or issues, you should consult a medical professional.

Toothache can come and go, but if it lasts for two or more days, you should seek medical help. If you develop swelling in your mouth or neck that makes it difficult for you to breathe, swallow or speak, you should seek urgent medical attention.