Poor mom, 80, just last month had what was left of her teeth pulled and dentures made. Of course she’s having a horrible time getting used to them, they don’t fit right yet and hurt and she’s having a hard time chewing. Now she’s calling me complaining of a stomach upset, namely, diarrhea. Won’t go into details, but of course it’s worrying me. But she says she thinks it may be partly because she isn’t chewing her food well and so its going right through her. Is this a possible cause, has anyone had, or known anyone who had, the runs because of not chewing food well? (and she’s on blood pressure medicine, heartburn medicine, cholesterol medicine…)
I’m not a doctor or a dentist, but I do have several years’ experience having lower dentures of my own. I got my lower teeth pulled in two sessions and the denture was fitted at the second of those. The first three or four days were composed of equal parts sleep, pudding, and pain medicine. By a week (when the stitches came out) it hurt only when I was eating. By a month I was pretty confident with just regular (non-crunchy non-hard) food.
Of course, your mom has a few decades on me, and probably heals more slowly. Is it possible that her dentist may have written her a prescription for a stool softener along with narcotic painkillers? (Some doctors will recommend that to counteract the constipation that narcotics can cause.) If so she may have taken the stool softener longer than the pain medicine or be taking too much. Also, could the dentist have prescribed her an antibiotic? That might cause diarrhea too.
The only other issue could be if her dentures truly don’t fit right, in which case she may have wretchedly sore places in her mouth and be on the pudding-and-painkillers diet. More than a few days of that and anybody would have the poops.
If her mouth is still painful other than when she eats, or if the dentist gave her any medicine other than painkillers, please encourage her to call the dentist; otherwise, please encourage her to visit with her doctor. If she’s stubborn and refuses to go see the doctor, just calling them on the phone could provide her (and you) some mental relief, at least?
Thank you for your comments, Corrvin. Mom’s not taking any painkillers other than over the counter stuff (Alleve, or aspirin), and will be going back to the dentist after Christmas for more adjustments to the dentures. I tell her to call her general practitioner, but Mom is kind of fed up with pills, insurance, prescriptions, and doctoring and says they’re only going to want to put her through tests - or hand out more pills.
I thought from your original post that she might be resisting going to the doctor.
However, you might be able to talk her into going to the dentist earlier for that readjustment? It won’t involve doing anything to her mouth, just looking in it and then re-shaping the denture itself, and there’s no reason for her to suffer an extra week. Just that little tiny change may make a huge difference and she’ll be able to eat more comfortably, and then keep an eye on her symptoms for improvement. There shouldn’t be any reason for an additional charge to adjust the denture, and the dentist should definitely be willing to give her an early-morning emergency appointment if she’s in pain.
In the meantime, if she’s feeling really crummy with her mouth hurting, she may not feel up to cooking-- is there a way you could find her some yummy food that doesn’t have to be chewed? Maybe some tender meatloaf and cooked carrots and potatoes, something that’s got fiber and not a lot of fat? (Great, I’m hungry now.)
I haven’t heard that this is a common cause of diarrhea. Generally, food is processed pretty much the same by the digestive system, without much effect from the chewed/non-chewed state of the food.
In particular, the kind of ‘soft’ foods that she is likely to be eating right now don’t take much chewing anyway.
I don’t think this is likely to be the cause.
P.S. Macaroni and cheese is a soft food that she might be comfortable eating, and often has an anti-diarrhea effect. Could she try eating some of that?
Will Mom take over the counter pills? If so, and if she’s really got bad diarrhea, I recommend Imodium AD, if it won’t interact with her other medication. It’s very effective, and sometimes too effective.
Metamucil is, oddly enough, somewhat effective in stopping mild diarrhea. The fiber absorbs the excess liquid, so Metamucil (and similar fiber therapy products) sometimes will help a case of mild diarrhea.
WAG… could it be caused by food particles getting trapped under the dentures and providing a happy breeding ground for bacteria? As someone who had a dental implant fitted a couple of months ago I know how easy it is for gunk to get trapped even under one false tooth.
I feel for Salinqmind, while I’m sure you’re mum’s a nice lady, did you ever try to tell an 80 year old person what to do?
I volunteer at a retirement center on Fridays and these are healthy people. The only reason they are there is because it’s nice “in case.”
Anyway these people are fun and interesting but you can’t tell them a thing. And I guess I can’t blame them. I like the lady who has arthritis and was told by her doctor to stop knitting as it’s aggravating it.
“What does he know, I’ve been knitting for 70 years, if it was bad for me, I’d have noticed it before now.”
“Well maybe you could try and lay off for a week.”
“I could be dead in a week, why should I give up the only fun I have because some doctor who doesn’t know what he’s doing…”
As for the OP problems there are lots of “Soft chewing foods.” You can even disguise them as omletts or pancakes or such so your mum won’t know it. Older people hate feeling like they need specialized attention