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Health Risks

If you have troubles swallowing, you can run the risk of aspiration (food and drink leaking into the airway, which could lead to lung infections) or choking.

When people have troubles chewing and swallowing food, the results can lead to malnutrition (taking in too little protein and calories to stay healthy) and include:

  • weight loss
  • weak muscles
  •  confusion
  •  dehydration
  •  skin sores
  •  infections

What to do?

Providing safe and appropriate foods reduces the risk of aspiration and choking. It makes eating more enjoyable. It helps meet our daily nutrition needs.

We can change foods to make them easier to eat. Using textured modified diets can make mealtimes easier, safer, and improve overall intake. Special diets with these modified foods include:

    • Pureed – smooth and pudding like, without lumps and does not require chewing
    • Total minced – Foods that are finely cut and put through a food processor to ¼ inch by ¼ inch pieces, whipped or mashed
    • Minced – Foods are cut finely or put through a food processor to ¼ inch by ¼ inch peices, includes minced meat, poultry, soft casseroles made with minced meat, whipped or mashed fruits and vegetables.  This diet may include soft breads and baked products, cheese or salad-type sandwiches.
    • Soft minced – soft diet, with some foods minced finely through a food processor to ¼ inch by ¼ inch pieces
    • Soft – moist, soft and easy to chew foods
    • Mixed consistencies – when a food is mixed with a thin fluid i.e., cold cereal and milk
    Fluid Consistencies – We may need to add thickeners to liquids. Thickened liquids can be controlled in the mouth and can help prevent fluids from getting into your lungs. Usually, thickened liquids are:
    • Nectar – like tomato juice or apricot nectar
    • Honey – pours like liquid honey
    • Pudding – thick like pudding, cannot pour, usually eaten with a spoon.

A Dietitian works with a Speech Language Pathologist to provide the best diet, which will give you the nutrition you need.

It is important to also:

  • Check that dentures, hearing aides and glasses are in.
  • Eat slowly. Take small bites (teaspoon size).
  • Swallow each bite before taking the next bite.
  • Proper cleaning and brushing is important after each meal.
  • Present food in a pleasing manner to make mealtimes more enjoyable.
  • It is important that the food is not too hot or cold.

For More Information:

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