Mouth & Throat Discomfort

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Nutrition Guidelines for Mouth & Throat Discomfort

The linings of the mouth and throat are among the most sensitive parts of the body.

Therapies and treatments for a number of medical conditions can lead to tender gums and a sore mouth and throat, making chewing and swallowing painful. Changes in taste and dry mouth are additional common side effects.

If you are experiencing soreness in your mouth or throat, you may find it beneficial to gargle and rinse your mouth with a baking-soda solution every three or four hours in order to remove bits of food and to keep your mouth moist and fresh-tasting (try one teaspoon of baking soda in two cups of water, mixed well).

Be sure to avoid using mouthwashes that contain alcohol, and avoid brushing your teeth vigorously; try using a soft toothbrush or a cotton swab with baking powder.

To minimize your discomfort, you should select food and drink that will not cause irritation.

The dietary guidelines below, including food and drink recommendations and tips for food preparation, are intended to help you maintain a healthful diet without adding to your discomfort.

Dietary Recommendations for Mouth & Throat Discomfort 

If you are experiencing mouth or throat discomfort, the following dietary guidelines and suggestions may be helpful:

  • To make swallowing easier, choose moist foods with soft or smooth textures, such as applesauce, mashed bananas, soft cakes and pies (cheesecake, Boston cream pie), soft cheeses (cottage, ricotta), cream of wheat, cream soups (cream of mushroom, cream of chicken), custard, eggs, French toast, canned fruit (in heavy syrup), gelatin, ice cream, noodles, oatmeal, pancakes, mashed potatoes, pudding, watermelon, and yogurt.

  • If your discomfort is severe, try commercial baby food.

  • Avoid dry, sticky foods, such as caramel and peanut butter, which may be difficult to swallow and may get stuck in your mouth or throat.

  • Avoid rough, coarse, or dry foods that may cause irritation during chewing and swallowing, such as bread and buns; dry cakes; dry cereals; corn; hard fruits (apples); granola; baked or fried fish, meat, or poultry; nuts; popcorn, potato chips, and pretzels; plain rice; and raw vegetables.

  • Avoid acidic foods, such as grapefruit, lemons, limes, oranges, pineapple, tangerines, and tomato products, all of which may cause a burning sensation in your mouth or throat.

  • Instead, try mild foods (applesauce, canned peaches and pears) and mild drinks (apple juice, nectars, fruit punches, malts, milkshakes).

  • Similarly, choose sauces made with cheese, cream, or milk; and if you have open mouth sores, limit your intake of salt and strong spices such as chili powder, cloves, curry, nutmeg, and red pepper.

  • During meals, drink small amounts of liquids to help keep your mouth moist (use a straw if drinking from a glass causes discomfort), and try tilting your head back or extending it forward when chewing and swallowing in order to avoid further irritation to sensitive areas of your mouth or throat.

  • Eat foods served at moderate temperatures; very hot or very cold foods may cause additional discomfort.

  • If cold foods do not cause discomfort, try ice chips, ice pops, frozen juice bars, sherbet, sorbet, or frozen yogurt to help soothe sores in your mouth or throat.

  • Hard candies and suckers (especially of sour flavors) may help to keep your mouth moist. Also try chewing gum.

  • When you are having trouble eating, add a nutritionally complete drink to your diet in order to boost your calorie intake.

  • Several kinds are available -- Advera, Boost, Carnation Instant Breakfast, Ensure Plus, Resource Plus, and Sustacal, to name a few.

Food-Preparation Recommendations for Mouth & Throat Discomfort 

If you are experiencing mouth or throat discomfort, try the following food-preparation strategies:

  • Braise, poach, steam, or stew foods to make them soft and moist. Also try adding extra liquid to casseroles and stews for a softer texture.

  • Moisten foods such as breads, meats, noodles, rice, and vegetables with broth, melted butter or margarine, cream soups, gravies, mayonnaise, salad dressings, sauces, or sour cream, as appropriate.

  • Use a blender to puree your food. If you like vegetable soup, for example, heat and then blend it. Pureed food tends to taste better if it is cooked beforehand, and food is easier to blend when it is warm.

The above opinionated views and information serves to educated and informed consumer . The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. It should not replaced professional advise and consultation. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions

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