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Eating out with no teeth
wingedkami wrote in little_details
My character has no teeth, and doesn't wear dentures. They're not lost due to age or decay - she just naturally has no teeth, due to not being completely human (a sluagh, for those who know the Changeling setting). I need to figure out what she can eat, besides soup and mashed potato.

The setting is the UK, and the present. I've searched for variations on the theme of 'food no teeth' but all I can find is stuff about pureeing stuff for babies.

Pureeing everything is not an option for my girl, as she's out and about a lot, and needs to be able to eat in restaurants and fast food places without looking overly conspicuous. To a normal human, she appears to have teeth, so eating nothing but soup would look strange. Does anyone have any suggestions for how she can eat and still pass as normal?

Edit: Thanks for the help, everyone. It looks like she can get away with eating most things so long as they aren't too crunchy and she can cut them up first.

Are her gums still hard underneath, the way a baby's are? Babies can "chew" before they have teeth, you just have to make sure food is squishy and cut small.

Basically, think of anything you could mash with your gums--fruits will work decently, vegetables like corn and peas. Bread works fine. Likely she'd have to cut it into smaller pieces than you or I would, but then again, she probably has better control over her tongue than a 10-month-old, so she might be able to mash things in her mouth for longer before swallowing. Meats are probably mostly out, although ground beef and the like might work.

I had some dental work recently and couldn't chew for a few days each time I had procedures done, because I can't chew with my other side (also awaiting dental repair). I still managed to eat enough and look fairly normal doing it.

Things I could still eat (I'm assuming she has normal use of cheeks/tongue/gums etc. and would be able to handle the same things):
-Crushed pineapple (the pieces are small)
-Bananas, and presumably any other soft fruit
-Any soft, cooked vegetable. I had dinner at my parents' house and had no problem with the cooked carrots and potatoes because they were soft enough that I could cut them into smallish pieces with a fork and sort of mash them in my mouth with my tongue.
-Small pasta. Mac-n-cheese, small shells, little stars, acini de pepe, etc. - penne, spaghetti, etc. would be too large.
-Bread (but not the crust), muffins, etc.

I imagine smallish, soft meatballs wouldn't be a problem either. Refried beans and rice is probably a winner as well.

She could order some pasta dish in a restaurant, as long as the pasta shapes weren't large (or she could cut them small enough without looking weird to swallow the pieces whole), skip the salad, and order soup or cooked veggies instead.

Fast food is more problematic.

this comes from a relative who had her teeth removed as an older teen/20something--her father told her they were not making anything special for her (this was in the early 1960s) she had to eat what everyone else did. She did too. Steak was hard but she did eat it, it couldn't be cooked well done and she did have to cut it into smallish pieces--but she ate it.

The gums are hard enough to eat pretty much anything but chips and things like that, that have a sharp edge, can hurt.

What does your character have in her mouth? Does she have gum ridges, or a place where teeth would otherwise be? Does she have a tongue?

You can chew food to some degree with gum ridges - it doesn't have to be liquid-only food. If she can cut her food into small pieces, and if it's not something that needs a lot of chewing, she can probably manage things like steamed vegetables, or meat that is at the "fall apart when you poke it" stage of cooked. Things she can roll around in her mouth and mash with her gums and poke with her tongue - pes, cakes, processed food (like pre-cooked meals), pasta, vegies, ice-cream, cheese, soft fruits like banana, maybe? Not stuff you have to bite, like apples, crusty bread, meat on the bone, and things you have to chew a lot before you swallow.

It's probably something you can try yourself - what can you eat without chewing?

My father has gone toothless without dentures (for stupid, stubborn reasons) for well over a decade. He can eat fish and chicken without problems as well as anything made of ground meat (meatloaf, hamburger, sausage). The only real problem foods for him are nuts, and raw vegetables (carrots, celery, and lettuce most notably).

So as long as she doesn't chow down on salads or things loaded with nuts I'd believe she could eat it. Steak and other similar meats that might be a bit tough or stringy I'd expect her to be very particular about cutting them small and across the grain as well has having them medium/rare when possible.

Forgot to mention, he eats apples (though he prefers to cut them up first), corn on the cob (though again, if possible he'll cut the kernels off the cob but he doesn't need to), chips, crackers, and a lot of things you wouldn't expect for someone with no teeth to be able to eat. His gums have toughened up over the years.

My father has gone toothless without dentures (for stupid, stubborn reasons) for well over a decade.

Mine, too. XD

He "lost" his dentures in a move about ten years back and left it at that. Heh.

How hard are her gums? My grandmother had a complete set of false teeth, but she was very protective of them because they were expensive. She would take them out to eat, and could happily chew through well-done steak (and indeed just about anything else) with her gums, though it took her a bit longer than someone with teeth.

Otherwise, I would suggest food that is reasonably soft (fast food and well-cooked pasta are a good bet, along with any rice dishes) and can be cut into small pieces or taken in small mouthfuls and masticated by the gums and tongue.

My dad lost his teeth due to an infection in his 20s and refused to wear dentures (they hurt) - He ate everything including munching happily on apples. There are still bones under that skin and the skin can callus up or toughen up to accept pressure. She should be just fine to eat anything you want her to.

A google search for diet or food after dental surgery picks up some hits for food that's easy on sore teeth.

Well, I had some dental work done, and I can tell you what is really difficult to eat without chewing, as my experience is the same as everyone else's.

Bacon is a pain, especially if it's crispy. Cauliflower (cooked) is also quite a pain unless steamed to mush (then it's just gross.). Ground Beef is also tough, but manageable. Raw vegetables which really require teeth (Broccoli, carrots, etc.)

But bear in mind, I couldn't use my Jaw either. Just my tongue/lips.

Seconding everyone who has had relatives without teeth, either their own or false, who have happily eaten anything put in front of them. My mother, also due to infection, had all of her teeth removed a fair while ago (somewhere in her thirties; she's nearly fifty now) and, for a long time, it was most comfortable for her to eat without her teeth.

(I realize that this doesn't matter to your character, but just for sake of completeness: she said that having her dentures in muted the taste of the food, and smaller tidbits tended to get stuck up under the plate -- the piece that fits over the roof of the mouth -- that turned, over time, according to her, from tiny pieces of Something to Grinding Razors from Hell.)

But, getting back on track -- she was able to eat everything from steak, no matter how well-done, to chips, to fried chicken (off the bone!), to popcorn. (She still eats popcorn without her dentures, and a bit of a quirk about that: she always uses a second receptacle, a cup or dish of some kind, to spit out the kernels once she's sucked them dry of buttery, squishy goodness. ;)

Hope this helps! (And I hope she never finds out I've shared so much information about her)!

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I've got dentures, but I've gone without during my pregnancy when morning sickness made it impossible to wear them and there's nothing i couldn't eat, as long as I cut it small enough

Well, you got plenty to work from but if you're looking for commonly availible foods and assume she can't tear into steaks with her gums ...

ice cream,
bannanas and any other soft fruit,
soups, stews etc
soft ice creams, sherberts etc
most bread, cakes, brownies
anything she can swallow whole ... which is anything she can cut up small enough to get into her mouth. While its annoying to swallow steak whole, you can digest it w/o chewing it up first

Have her eat in African (West, to be exact) restaurants and eat eba and soup all the time.

Oh, and bread. Lotsa bread.

I should think most things that aren't hard would work if cut into small enough pieces (curry certainly, maybe stirfry). Assuming she has a tongue.

make her eat tofu, most is soft (unless it's deepfryed maybe). she could eat with rice dishes, veggies, pasta?

you could have a "fast food" dumplings place, maybe potato dumplings?

I don't know how applicable this is, but I have a dog with no teeth, and he chows through regular dog food with no problem. In fact, he doesn't even like the softer or smaller stuff. It does take him a little while longer, but I guess it's evidence that gumming really can work pretty well.

Does she have a human-like stomach, i.e. will most food give her a stomach ache if not chewed?

If not, everything that's cut in sufficiently small pieces can just be swallowed. For fast-food places, ice cream would be obvious, but breaking chicken nuggets into small bits should be easy (that stuff is mashed and then pressed back into shape anyway), as should non-crunchy fries/chips. (The chips I got in the UK were often soft enough to squash with the tongue.)

She could probably eat nearly anything in a Chinese restaurant. No one would think it odd if she had a fondness for fried rice, I reckon, even if she picked out the bean sprouts.

It seems like you've gotten good answers here, so I just wanted to add that it probably makes me a huge geek that I guessed what this question was about before you even said it was for Changeling. It's nice to see someone else besides me is writing Changeling stuff :) I'd be interested to see what you write when it's ready, if you're willing to share :)

As a token of admiration for your efforts, I hereby share a couple of the Changeling icons I made with you :)

I'll drop you a link if and when I have something finished. And so much love for those icons. :-)

Thank you, and thanks! :)

Not quite the story I planned on writing, but here it is.

Thank you for sharing that, it's very nice! Is it going to be part of a longer story?

It's not intended to be - Meredith is actually my character in an RPG I just joined. But I may write some more stories about her before the time when she joins the game, or based around the other characters.

Cool :) My Changeling stories are over at my writing journal, shadow_truths , if you're interested (no pressure, though :) Thanks again for sharing yours with me!

Added. :-) I'll have a look.

Ah, WOD, how I love thee!

Um, can you have her claim to be on a liquid weight-loss diet? You know, like slimfast? That saves her having to eat out with people when she's in a restaurant, or she can just say 'oh, can I have some milk/soup/calorific-but-digestible-liquid?'

Oh and fast food places are easy. Those milkshakes have the calories of a full meal anyway.

On the one hand, she's thin enough for people to assume she's on a diet anyway. On the other hand, if they think she's dieting they might start desperately trying to feed her up...

Foods 2 eat without teeth:)(;


2011-10-27 07:15 pm (UTC)

Cheesecake baby cheesecake n' all sorts-o-cheese with diced mushrooms

I say what difference does it make what other people say. You have to do what you have to do. I just lost my last seven teeth. I got myself a portable manual food chopper where you pull a string several times and the food chops really small depending how much you pull the string. You can put a little water in it towards the end of the process. I also bought a vitamix for home use. A nutribullet is also great but I would use only organic produce, seeds and nuts soaked over night. This way you know for sure that your body will get what is needs nutrition wise. Food must be broken down as close to liquid when you have teeth or when it goes into the digestive system the large particles the body looks at as foreign invaders or toxins. Get the book "Green for Life" and it will be explained to you more in detail. It sure isn't easy but it will keep you well.
I really think if more people without teeth would just eat out more and take with them a manual blender or juicers of some sort put it on the table and used it that more people would look over it as something normal. I remember when people with wheelchairs could not get in to the doors of restaurants. I think having no teeth is a disability also. We should be able to use our blenders and juicers eating out. Get out there!!!

After I had all my teeth extracted I eat a lot of Hormel Hot Tamales.
I could mash them with my tongue and not have to chew.

And the other things mention here also.


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