Liquids that are thicker are easier to control in your mouth. By slowing the flow of liquids, they make it less likely that you will swallow liquids.
You breathe in liquids that end up in your lungs. A lung infection or pneumonia can be caused by liquids in your lungs. Read a comprehensive guide provided by Healthyell here;
What is thick water & how does it help?
People with difficulty swallowing – known as dysphagia – are meant to use thick water. Getting old, physical characteristics of the esophagus, or neurological problems may cause this.
It can cause pneumonia, choking, and a host of other dangerous problems when fluids are not swallowed properly. It means that thickening those liquids could allow people who suffer from choking to avoid getting sick.
There is a wide range of thickeners available.
There are gels, powders, and natural thickening agents available online or from local pharmacies and medical supply suppliers. Among the top brands of thickener are:
- Thick & Easy.
- Thicken up.
- Simply Thick.
- Thick & Clear.
Using thickeners correctly.
- Avoid using ice cubes. The thickness of a liquid can be altered by melting ice. Ice cubes can be made with thickeners containing xanthan gum, such as ThickenUp and Simply Thick. You can freeze water in ice cube trays after it has been thickened to the desired thickness. Xanthan gum is listed as an ingredient on the food label of the product.
- If the liquid is too thin, add more thickener if you are using powdered thickeners. Adding more liquid until it reaches the desired thickness will thin out the liquid.
- There are some power thickeners that should be used with caution. It is possible for some products to thicken over time. Follow the instructions and label carefully.
- Ice cream, sorbet, sorbets, and gelatin desserts are to be avoided. Since these foods melt in your mouth, they are thin liquids. Replace ice cream with thick custard.
- Thin liquids such as broths are used in soups. To thicken the broth, various items can be used, such as mashed potatoes, instant potato flakes, pureed vegetables, flour, or cream.
- When you travel or eat out, remember to take your thickening supplies. In single-serving packs, you can get a wide variety of thickeners.
- Supplements like Boost and Ensure might have different consistencies at room temperature or chilled. A fork test can be used to determine whether thickener should be added to your drink.
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Is it possible that thickened liquids could be helpful for adults with dysphasia?
Clinical practices in treating dysphagia in adults have always focused on modifying oral liquid intake with thickened liquids. In the oropharynx, thin liquids of low viscosity flow rapidly from the mouth.
Rapid inhalation can cause aspiration if the pharyngeal muscles cannot compensate quickly enough. As liquids thicken, they move more slowly, which increases the time available for airways to close, reducing the risk of aspiration.