How Edible Printing Can Help People with Swallowing Disorder

You might have already seen commercials about 3D printers. These machines are capable of printing minuscule action figures to houses. Yes, you read that right – houses! The concept of 3D printing works like a regular ink printer; you load a paper and it prints your article or an essay. It’s not only plastic that can be used as a printing medium. Nowadays, these machines can use food medium to print to cakes, burgers, and more.

Imagine a 3D printer with an option to print to cakes! It may seem like something from a SCI-FI movie, but it is not. A conference led by Dr. Aarti Tobin from Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation last May 2017 presented how 3D food printing can bring convenience and wellness to our lives.

One of the goals of CSIRO is to help people with swallowing disorders. The medical term for this is dysphagia. It is when a person suffers from difficulty in swallowing. This can affect one’s nutrition, breathing, and lifestyle. People with dysphagia are advised to eat texture-modified foods, which include soft, spongy, bite-sized, moist, and pureed foods. Appearance is also a big factor in a food. Texture-modified foods are known to be unappealing, which can affect a person’s appetite. With 3D printing, a user can be in control of how the food will look like, what the texture is, and what the nutrients will be in it.

There are still a lot of ways 3D food printing can be improved. But with the right application and better technology, even people with swallowing disorder will enjoy a great meal.