6 Tips for Improving Swallowing Disorders

January 12, 2023

Swallowing disorders can be a source of frustration and concern for patients seeking Gastro Care. If you suffer from a swallowing disorder, you are not alone. While there is no single cure for all types of swallowing disorders, there are strategies that may help individuals manage their condition more effectively. This blog post explores six evidence-based tips for improving swallowing disorders, including dietary modifications, reducing stress levels, physical therapy exercises, and other helpful tactics. We invite you to join us on this journey as we work towards improved diagnosis and treatment options for your individualized needs.

Drink Plenty of Fluids and Eat Soft Foods

Soft foods are an important part of treatment for people who suffer from swallowing disorders. Soft foods encompass a variety of options, including cooked cereal and fruit, mashed potatoes and other vegetables, eggs, pudding, smoothies, and more. Soft foods can easily be cut into smaller pieces to make them easier to swallow. In addition to eating soft foods, drinking plenty of fluids is also important for patients with swallowing disorders. Ensuring you drink enough fluids is a key aspect of successful treatment. Keeping the throat hydrated will make it easier for food to travel down the throat without causing discomfort or pain.

Avoid Carbonated Drinks and Acidic Foods

As Carbonation causes bubbles of Carbon Dioxide Within The stomach Acid, increasing acidity and irritation, these types of beverages should be avoided. Carbonated drinks and other acidic foods can cause transient swelling of the throat, leading to difficulty swallowing. This symptom is especially common in patients with a pre-existing swallowing disorder, such as dysphagia. Furthermore, highly acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits have been linked to increased throat swelling and reflux, leading to even more difficulty swallowing food for a person with pre-existing issues. Therefore, it is wise for those with underlying swallowing difficulty to avoid Carbonated Drinks and acidic foods altogether to ensure safe eating habits.

Take Small Bites and Chew Slowly

Small bites taken when eating are extremely important. Doing so can help improve swallowing disorders and decrease choking risks. Smaller bits of food requires less time when being chewed, and taking the extra time to chew each bite is also essential for improving symptoms associated with swallowing functions. Smaller portions make it easier to swallow the food because it breaks down more easily in the mouth thanks to thorough chewing. In addition, everything will be easier for the digestive system, and there won’t be an excessive amount that has to be swallowed at once. This can make a huge difference for patients affected by dysphagia and allow them to enjoy their meals again appropriately.

Don’t Talk or Laugh While Eating

While it may seem trivial, research has found that refraining from talking or laughing is. At the same time, eating can help improve swallowing disorders. This is because these activities take the focus away from swallowing, leading to difficulty and reflexive coughing, especially in those with dysphagia. So if you or someone you know has been diagnosed with a throat disorder, such as dysphagia, try your best to limit conversation and chuckles when meals are involved. It may be the change you need to find relief from your symptoms.

Position Yourself Upright when Eating or Drinking

Upright posture is a beneficial element in managing and reducing swallowing dysfunction. When positioned upright, the head, neck, chest, and shoulders are all in a steady line, creating an optimal position to swallow food or beverage successfully. Upright posture also positively influences breathing during meals. Additionally, sitting upright helps properly direct food into the oral cavity when it has been crushed or mashed before eating. Furthermore, research has found that patients who sit upright while consuming their meals showed improved control over fluid intake, eliminating choking or aspiration due to dysphagia. An upright posture can be a simple solution to help improve these disorders and should always be encouraged for those with swallowing difficulties.

Use Thickened Liquids if Needed

Thickened liquids provide relief for people with swallowing disorders. Thickening a liquid effectively reduces the risk of aspirating, which can be an unpredictable disorder symptom. Thickened liquids are also nutritious and often offer adequate hydration while allowing the patient to maintain adequate dietary intake. Thickening a liquid involves adding ingredients like cornstarch, honey, or balsamic vinegar, which binds to water and creates a slightly viscous or gooey effect. Thickened liquids can help patients achieve their swallowing treatment goals and live healthier lifestyles. Talk to your doctor for more information about using thickened liquids to improve swallow control.

Swallowing disorders can be life-altering and majorly impact your daily life. With the proper strategies and tactics, however, you can avoid the risk of complications associated with swallowing disorders, such as choking and consuming food into the lungs. Although many people feel overwhelmed when they receive new information or experience an unfamiliar situation, they know there is help for those suffering from swallowing disorders. Avoiding public embarrassment or experiencing health risks due to aspiration is within reach when you partner with professionals specializing in treating swallowing issues. Following these six tips to improve your swallowing disorder is the first step towards living a healthy and happy life. Contact Gastro Florida today for more detailed information about how you can start working on improving your swallowing disorder.