Soft food and mechanical soft food diets

Soft food and mechanical soft food diets

What are the soft food and mechanical soft food diets?

The soft food diet is one that includes foods that are easy to chew and swallow and excludes foods with a hard texture. With careful planning, it is still possible to eat a tasty, balanced diet from a variety of soft foods.

The mechanical soft food diet is another name for the diet, and refers to using equipment, such as blenders or food processors, to make food into a smooth puree.

In this article, we take a look at the foods to include and those to avoid when following a soft food diet.

When should someone follow this diet?

There are many situations where people are advised to follow a soft food diet:

Following surgery

Doctors may recommend that people who have had surgery to the mouth, head, neck, or stomach follow a soft food diet for a period following surgery.

Examples of surgery that may require a person to eat a soft food diet afterward include gastrectomy, where a surgeon removes all or part of the stomach, and bariatric surgery, which is an operation to reduce someone's weight.

Cancer treatment

Chemotherapy and radiotherapy can make the digestive tract sore and inflamed, a condition known as mucositis. If someone is experiencing mucositis, they might benefit from a soft food diet.

Difficulty swallowing

The soft food diet may be appropriate for people who find it difficult to chew or swallow. This condition is called dysphagia.

For people with significant dysphagia, who are unable to eat tough foods safely, a doctor or dietitian might prescribe a texture-modified diet. In this diet, users alter the texture of foods to reduce the need to chew. They may achieve this by mashing and pureeing foods.

A texture-modified diet is similar to the soft food diet, and a doctor or dietitian may recommend it to people who may be at risk of getting food stuck in the throat or windpipe.

Doctors will assess people with dysphagia and will make appropriate dietary recommendations depending on individual needs.

The range of foods and textures offered depends on the severity of the dysphagia. Individuals should discuss options with a doctor or other professional, such as a speech and language therapist who specializes in helping people who have difficulty swallowing.

Dental problems

A soft food diet may be appropriate following dental implant or tooth extraction, such as wisdom tooth removal.

Following a procedure, it is essential to follow dietary recommendations from the dentist to avoid infections and other dental problems.

Dentures are removable replacements for missing teeth. They can become loose or ill-fitting over time, which makes it difficult to bite and chew properly. Hard or sharp foods can dislodge the dentures, causing them to become unstable in the mouth.

The soft food diet might be more suitable for adults with dentures as it prevents food getting stuck and causing any damage.

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