Nutrition And Mouth Problems

If your loved one’s condition makes chewing or swallowing difficult or painful, he or she may not be getting the proper nutrition.

Sometimes it is not a person’s lost appetite that causes poor nutrition, but the physical inability to chew or swallow food. If this is the case with your loved one, you might want to try preparing easy-to-chew foods, or moistening foods to make them easier to swallow.

The following is a list of easy-to-chew foods:

  • Breads and Cereals
    • Bread
    • Cooked cereal (e.g., oatmeal, Cream of Wheat)
    • Muffins
  • Fruits and Vegetables
    • Bananas
    • Canned fruit (e.g., pears, peaches)
    • Chopped fruits (e.g., watermelon)
    • Chopped raw vegetables (e.g., mushrooms, tomatoes)
    • Cooked vegetables (e.g., carrots, peas)
    • Juices
  • Meat and Protein
    • Canned tuna
    • Cottage cheese (also dairy)
    • Cheese (also dairy)
    • Eggs
    • Ground meat
    • Peanut butter
  • Dairy Products
    • Custard
    • Milk
    • Milkshakes
    • Yogurt

Some illnesses or medications can cause your loved one’s mouth to be extremely dry. This can make swallowing food difficult. To help someone with dry mouth maintain his or her nutrition, try moistening foods. Here are a few ways to add extra moisture to food:

  • Have your loved one drink liquids with each bite of food.
  • Have your loved one dunk foods in beverages including milk or juice.
  • Add extra broth, gravy, or sauces to the food.

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