Treatment of Bell’s palsy should be conservative and guided by the severity and probable prognosis in each particular case.(1)
In 2012, the AAN released guidelines stating that steroids are highly likely to increase the likelihood of recovery of the facial nerve.(1)
What To Eat & Avoid When You Have Bell’s Palsy?
A patient with Bell’s palsy can suffer from various problems in day to day life such as while eating, sleeping, talking, etc. During eating there can be problems like drooling of saliva, collection of food on the weak side of the face, inability to properly chew the food, etc.
Due to these reasons, eating habits have to be changed to cope with the problems caused by Bell’s palsy. Following food habits should be inculcated because they are found to be very helpful.
Try to eat softer food items like pasta, dairy products, vegetables, fruits, well-cooked meat or fish, etc. because these are easier to chew and swallow.
If the Bell’s palsy patient feels like there is dryness in the mouth due to lack of saliva, then additional sauces can be added and gravy can be made to make the food palatable.
Smaller bites of the food like chapati should be tried because they are easier to control and there are less likely chances of spillage of food products out of the mouth.
Since there is a possibility of a collection of residual food particles in the weaker side of the mouth, Bell’s palsy patients must make sure that the mouth should be cleaned properly after meals and brushed thrice daily to avoid foul smell and mouth infections.
Try to take a sip of water every few minutes while eating because it will moisten the contents of the mouth.
Swallowing regularly after a short period should be practiced to avoid the buildup of saliva in the mouth and prevent the drooling.
Avoid eating hard and chewy foods like maida items (pizza), nuts like peanuts, black gram, etc. because these are likely to cause a problem to such patients.
Avoid using cups with large lip borders because they can lead to spillage of food contents from the side of the mouth, instead, cups with thin borders are helpful.
Kapi cups are a form of utensils made especially for the people suffering from facial palsy because there is no need to tilt the neck backward for drinking from these cups and there are fewer chances of spillage of contents.
Following these simple steps will make life very much easier for a person who is suffering from Bell’s palsy until the complete recovery from it happens. There is no need for excessive choosing of the eating products because these individuals are capable of eating almost all the food items as that of a normal person.
Facial palsy is a non-progressive condition in which there is the involvement of facial nerve (most of the cases unilaterally but may also be bilateral) and presentation of features related to loss of function of the facial nerve. One must try to avoid the food items which takes a lot of effort for chewing and instead go for easily palatable food items. Regular cleaning of mouth with brushing at least twice daily should be incorporated into the routine because it prevents a lot of mouth infections and dental decay.
Other do’s and don’ts have been listed above in the article which may be helpful for some of the people. It can improve the quality of life of the individual and reduce the suffering. Regular follow up with the doctor should be done.
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