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Nutrition & Diet For The Elderly With Dental Problems

Tuesday, September 21, 2010
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Nutrition & Diet For The Elderly With Dental Problems
Though aging and growing old are a natural progression to living, seniors often find themselves with health and dietary conditions that can prove to be quite challenging.

As an individual grows older, the body undergoes many changes, some that are visible as in hair loss or teeth loss or invisible such as with indigestion or a vitamin deficiency.

To combat and alleviate these conditions it is imperative that seniors consume a balanced and nutritious diet.



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User Comments

08 April, 2011 | Jaclyn Chew | Reply

Jaclyn Chew Hi, my 83 yrs old chinese mum lost most of her teeth & is not able to eat hard food that requires chewing. She is a demanding eater & I am running out of ideas on ingredients & recipes that can make food tasty, eatable & enjoyable for her. Where can I find ideas & food recipe to help her to enjoy her meals? Thanks.

08 April, 2011 | Mrinal | Reply

Mrinal Hi Jaclyn,
It's great you have an 83 year old determined mother. Never a dull moment but, I am sure its a wonderful feeling.
Our dietitians will respond in greater depth - but I have an uncle who is the same age and has no teeth - and there are a few things we make sure he has daily.
1. 'Ensure' supplement a small can that he likes at room temperature - it provides a whole lot of nutrition and vitamins and is easily digestible and tastes pretty decent. He prefers vanilla, though it comes in strawberry and chocolate.
2. My aunt makes milk shakes with blueberries or strawberries for him which are great.
3. He loves the filling of pies like pumpkin, apple - is not able to eat the crust.
4. He loves cottage cheese with soft fruits like canned peaches that have been cut into smaller sections.
5. Lentil and rice that has been cooked a lil extra.
6. Simple grilled fish with a few fresh herbs - served with mashed potatoes.
7. Oatmeal cereal with raisins in the morning for breakfast.
These are just a few suggestions.
Please let us know what she likes to eat and if she has any restrictions.
Good luck!

05 October, 2010 | Vijayalakshmi Iyengar | Reply

Vijayalakshmi Iyengar Hello Mr Srinivasan,
No I don’t think your father should strain the vegetable puree unless the doctor has advised him for a particular reason.If it is for problems of dentition then, despite lack of teeth, he can swallow the puree. Straining the puree will remove all the fibre and reduce satiety value. Lack of fibre can cause constipation and sometimes lead to haemorrhoids /piles or to diverticulitis.
That apart sufficient amount of both fibre and of water will leadto growth and colonisation of helpful bacteria which synthesizes B complex vitamins and maintain health of the intestines.

05 October, 2010 | Srinivasan | Reply

Srinivasan Hello,

We give my father pureed vegetables and fruits because some of most of his teeth is removed and he is not comfortable with the dentures. Now he wants us to filter the puree and provide only the liquid part. If we do so will he get the required nutrition?

08 February, 2011 | Vijayalakshmi Iyengar | Reply

Vijayalakshmi  Iyengar Dear Mr Srinivasan
Yes if you filter the contents you will definitely lose out on valuable fibre both soluble & insoluble. He needs to make up his mind to bear with the discomfort. You need to do is double cook the food, partially mash or sometimes puree the food. Rice & dhal can be double cooked and vegetables can be lightly cooked and mashed in a blender, as you may lose more nutrition (water soluble vitamins) if you over cook it. Roti`s can be soaked well in dal, gravy of any dish, milk or curd and then eaten as it will be rendered soft by soaking
Also ensure that you take more of whole fresh fruits as well as fresh fruit & vegetable juices for natural vitamins & minerals. This is imperative as you will be avoiding salads and just cooked vegetables
It’s a matter of adaptation and you will start getting creative on eating gum friendly foods. Most important is not to lose sight of eating a healthy balance diet whatever your limitations are.

22 September, 2010 | Maendra Naik | Reply

Maendra Naik Dear Madam,

As promissed you have posted the article, which almost gives all the information I needed in the first place.

Thanks a lot and perticularly for te promptness you have shown. This is going to be very very useful.

With regards,


25 September, 2010 | Mrinal | Reply

Mrinal Dear Mr. Mahendra,
Perhaps occasionally you can share your suggestions and symptoms so those facing similar issues like you and who are scared or worried can learn and benefit.

03 October, 2010 | Mahendra Naik | Reply

Mahendra Naik I would like to know about the food I take without chewing. I am not adding any saliva which helps in digestion. How the stomach reacts to this? foods like pieces of nuts and resins which I swallow are able to impart their Nutrition values or not? or they go waste.I do ave a mild stomach ache some times. Can it be because of this? Do enlighten me.

04 October, 2010 | Vijayalakshmi Iyengar | Reply

Vijayalakshmi Iyengar Dear Mr Naik
A large percentage of elderly people (more than 70%) do not produce enough saliva, a condition called xerostomia. This condition is considered to be part of the normal aging process. So it could make digestion partially difficult but nevertheless surmountable. Saliva helps with proper chewing and has 2 major enzymes which help in digestion of (1) milk fat (2) starch. Digestion of protein food does not begin in the mouth. It is only ground well and mixed with saliva to be digested well in the stomach. The enzymes in the stomach, will to an extent make up for the loss of salivary enzymes. So if you can mash your food well, cut them small enough to grind with gums, puree where ever possible to facilitate the job the teeth do.
With regard to your diet you can eat whatever you enjoy or tolerate but it should be well cooked. Kindly eat a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables and fruits to ensure you have no deficiencies. With regard to nuts and dry fruits if you can mash them well and eat them they would be digested. However it would definitely help if you take plenty of fluids, most notably water, is necessary to maintain health- help in digestion, prevent dehydration, constipation & kidney stones to name a few.
With regard to your stomach pain it could be for a number of reasons, it would not be prudent of me to comment. If it troubles you we suggest you speak to a gastroenterologist.
I hope this helps.
Vijayalakshmi Iyengar
Sr Dietitian

05 October, 2010 | Mahendra | Reply

Mahendra Dear Madam,
Thanks a lot for the information.

03 October, 2010 | Mrinal | Reply

Mrinal Welcome back Mr. Naik!
I am sure our team dietitians will get back to you with some helpful advice today.
Its wonderful you are making the effort to get your nutrition in.

21 September, 2010 | Shreya | Reply

Shreya I was on a look out for a diet for my grandmom who is 80 years of age. This is really interesting and informative. Guess have to check NV website more often, coz am coming back after a very long time.

Thank you Team in NV that makes the lives of so many nutrition illiterate people easy.

21 September, 2010 | Mrinal | Reply

Mrinal Shreya, You are quite welcome.
Your grandmother is lucky to have a grand daughter who makes the time to look up information that will make her grandma stronger and live healthier.
Well done.

21 September, 2010 | Shalini | Reply

Shalini My Grandmother lost her dentures while bathing in Hardwar, funny as it was she could not eat comfortably till she got a new set.This of course would take sometime as she was on a pilgrimage.So we needed to ensure that for 1 month she had adequate nourishment.
It was finely grated cucumber or carrot for salads,with or without curd, double cooked rice which was mashed and mixed with rasam or curd, pressure cooked vegetables to make sabzi/pureed vegetables and fruits just like we feed toddlers and of course the doctor told us to give her plenty of vegetable & fruit juice. If she wanted to eat rotis it was soaked in rasam /some gravy or milk. She continued to enjoy her meals laughing at her foolishness but determined to keep healthy.

22 September, 2010 | sukumar | Reply

sukumar Wont using gums to eat, cause damage to them?

27 September, 2010 | Geetha | Reply

Geetha No, our gums are quite strong, chewing soft foods using the gums for a short while is not going to hurt or harm them.

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