Swallowing problems

General tips to help with swallowing problems:

  • Sit up as straight as possible when you eat.
  • Take small bites, less than 1 teaspoon (5 grams) of food per bite.
  • Chew well and swallow your food before taking another bite.
  • If one side of your face or mouth is weaker, chew food on the stronger side of your mouth.
  • DO NOT mix solid foods with liquids in the same bite.
  • Keep mealtime relaxed.
  • DO NOT try to wash down solids with sips of liquids, unless your therapist told you to eat this way.
  • Sit upright for 30 to 45 minutes after eating.
  • You may need someone to remind you to finish swallowing.
  • DO NOT drink thin liquids without checking with your doctor or therapist first.
  • Ask caregivers and family members not to talk to you when your are eating or drinking.
Review date:
December 07, 2016
Reviewed by:
Jenifer K. Lehrer, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Frankford-Torresdale Hospital, Aria Health System, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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