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A number of signs suggest a person is experiencing dysphagia, including:
Oral leaking or drooling
Choking or gagging
Pocketing food (capturing it in the cheeks)
Taking longer than 10 seconds to swallow
Weakness, poor motivation
Poor chewing ability, which may lead to choking on food
A dysphagia diet features various textures of foods and liquids that make it easier and safer for patients to swallow. These textures make it easier to chew and move food in the mouth and reduce he risk of food or liquid going into the windpipe or trachea, which results in choking.
Factors to consider before choosing thickeners/pre-thickened foods include:
Amounts of thickener required for thickening food/beverages -Attention must be paid to the amount of thickener and directions for use as described on the packaging.
Viscosity differences between brands - each brand’s version of nectar and honey consistencies may vary.
Added carbohydrates - if an individual has concerns regarding sugar/carbohydrate intake, they may want to consider using a gum-based thickener instead of a traditional starch-based thickener to avoid additional carbohydrate consumption
Using thickeners with pureed foods - The starch-based thickeners will work better for making a firmer consistency and would be the better choice if the pureed foods are going to be shaped or molded.
When pureeing food it must be kept into mind that the food must be of correct consistency. It should be thick enough to be scooped with a spoon or a fork.