Do you eat with missing teeth? No teeth? Do you eat without putting in your dentures?
You already know that the experience isn’t exactly fun or comfortable. What you may be surprised to learn, however, is that there are health risks associated with eating without teeth.
In this post, we’re going to explain the risks of not properly chewing your food, and how a qualified Florida dentist can help you.
The Risks of Eating with Missing Teeth
You may have lost a tooth or two and not replaced it with dental implants. Perhaps you prefer not to wear dentures while you eat, and you try to eat without them. Many people adapt to eating while teeth are missing, but this can have a detrimental impact on your overall health. Here are the biggest risks of eating with missing teeth.
Gum and Jaw Problems
Even when you have all your teeth, your jaws and gums use a lot of pressure to chew food. However, when teeth are missing, your jaws and gums must work much harder to accomplish the same results.
Quite simply, eating with missing teeth can cause heavy wear and tear on your gums. It can also place a burden on surrounding teeth. You could experience soreness, bleeding, and irritation in your gums. In worst case scenarios, your gums could become infected.
You could also suffer from TMJ, which causes significant pain in your jaw.
Our jawbones fair a lot better with teeth or dentures. Natural teeth place between 200 and 250 pounds of force on food while chewing. Dentures only use about 50 pounds of force, but even that is far more effective than gums alone.
If your jaw has to adjust to open spaces, it becomes weaker. The shape of your face could change, and your jaw could fracture and require surgery.
Soft foods like fruit and vegetable purees, yogurt, and soup are possible to eat without putting undue stress on your jaw, but they are not intended to meet all your nutritional needs. For full nutritional value, you need to consider dentures or dental implants – then you have to actually use them.
You may not be able to fully chew food if you have missing teeth, and larger pieces of food that you swallow can cause all kinds of big problems. In the worst case scenario, these pieces of food could cause life-threatening situations if they get caught in your esophagus and block your airway. Even if this doesn’t happen, they can cause serious digestion problems.
Your digestive system is more complex than you may realize. All the parts must work together for the best results. Digestion begins in your mouth. When your mouth cannot fully chew food, it becomes difficult for your stomach to break down, leading to partial digestion.
This can cause you to lose nutrients, and suffer from bacteria growth, indigestion and flatulence if large pieces of food get nestled in your intestines and colon.
Attempt to avoid chewing by eating only soft foods and you could miss out on vital nutrients, putting you at risk for mouth sores, stomach upset, and bowel issues.
The act of chewing activates saliva production, which helps move food from the stomach to the small intestine. Chewing also tells the gastrointestinal tract that food is on the way.
When your tongue tastes food, it signals your stomach to begin producing acid. Your pancreas also receives the green light for producing digestive enzymes for your small intestine to work properly.
How a Skilled South Florida Dentist Can Help
Since eating with missing teeth or without dentures can lead to other health problems, it’s important to get your mouth checked by a skilled Florida dentist. Your dentist can recommend solutions for your missing teeth or adjust your dentures for a more comfortable fit. Living without teeth will only cause other problems to develop, and your dentist can steer you onto a healthier path before those problems get out of control.
Of course, your dentist is only half of the equation. The other half has to be you – your willingness to get help, and your ability to use the dental tools that are available to you once you have them.
If you would like more information on the harm that you could be doing to your oral and overall health by eating without teeth, please don’t hesitate to reach out.