When you are edentulous, you have none of your own teeth, and might or might not have dentures. Being edentulous poses serious problems in receiving adequate nutrition from the foods you can eat, in addition to concerns centered on decreased chewing efficiency and increased risk of choking, according Carol A. Miller, author of “Nursing for Wellness in Older Adults.” Being edentulous will change what foods you eat and how you eat them.
An edentulous diet also is called a mechanical soft diet, so named because of mechanical items, such as blenders, that are used to make food easier to chew and swallow. If you have no teeth or poorly fitting dentures, or if you have teeth but have difficulty chewing, you will benefit from an edentulous diet. Food should be soft-cooked, cut into very small pieces or ground to minimize the choking hazard and ease chewing and swallowing.
How Being Edentulous Affects Eating
If you are edentulous, you likely must avoid chewy meat, raw vegetables, salad, most fresh fruits, some types of bread, crispy foods and foods with tough skins. You also might have to avoid other high-fiber foods and foods with nuts or seeds, but you might not have to restrict all of them if you alter texture and consistency. You will have to use a blender, meat grinder or knife to prepare most of the food you eat.
Nutrition and Edentulous Diets
If you are edentulous you might be at risk for nutritional deficiencies because of food avoidance. You might now prefer different tastes and textures in the food you eat, and a low level of satisfaction with your dentures could significantly impact your nutritional intake. A 2010 study published in “The International Journal of Prosthodontics” found that only 4 percent of the study’s elderly edentulous subjects met RDA standards for the five food groups. In addition, 4 percent did not meet the nutrition standards for any of the food groups.
What You Can Eat on an Edentulous Diet
Soft, liquid, blended, chopped or ground foods comprise most of an edentulous diet. Hot cereal or cereal softened with milk, soft-cooked pasta, cooked rice and soft bread are appropriate choices. Cooked or blended canned fruits, soft fruits such as bananas, cooked or canned vegetables, and mashed potatoes or squash can provide the five servings of fruits and vegetables recommended by the USDA. Protein substitutes to supplement decreased meat intake can include soft-cooked eggs, peanut butter and fish. You will be able to eat most dairy products.
The Good News
Advanced dental treatments are reducing the number of people who become edentulous as they age. In a study presented at the 1998 annual meeting of the Academy of Prosthodontics in Canada, researchers Gordon W. Thomas and Phil S.J. Kreisel, noted that those who were 50 to 54 years old in the year 2000 would retain 6.6 more teeth by the time they were 75 years old than those who were already 75. By the year 2025, the number of edentulous people 75 years or older will have decreased by 50 percent since 1990, the study indicated.
Sponsored Links References
“Nursing for Wellness in Older Adults, Fifth Edition”; Carol A. Miller; 2009
“Foundations of Nursing, Second Edition”; Lois White, R.N., Ph.D.; 2005
Jackson Siegelbaum Gastroenterology: Soft and Mechanical Diet
PubMed.gov: The Association of Chewing Ability and Diet in Elderly Complete Denture Patients
MyPyramid.gov: Dietary Guidelines
The Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry: The Impact of the Demographics of Aging and the Edentulous Condition on Dental Care Services
Article reviewed by Shawn Candela Last updated on: May 26, 2011