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What you need to know if you are eating without teeth

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What you need to know if you are eating without teeth

Teeth play an important role in your body. It is easy to take our teeth for granted and forget how important they really are.

If you have lost teeth and have not replaced them, it can be tempting to try and eat without them. Over time, you might even become good at it.

This may seem convenient, but eating without teeth can be dangerous to the mouth and the rest of your body. Many people with missing teeth inadvertently avoid certain foods; this can lead to many health risks- both oral and overall.

Even one damaged tooth can impede your ability to bite and chew and that can cause a negative effect on your oral health and your overall health. Dentists in Delhi are regularly educating patients on this front.

If you try to chew without teeth, your jaw bone and gums have to work even harder to ensure that food is chewed enough to swallow.

People who eat without teeth can also experience severe consequence of bone loss ie collapse of the lower third of their face. This makes them appear much older also.

If teeth are left unreplaced, it can lead to bone loss as jawbone is preserved through the pressure and stimulus of chewing with teeth (not chewing with jaws and gums).

Over time, bone loss starts and your gums will become sore and irritated from having to work extra hard to break the food fragments, even softer foods that do not appear to require a lot of chewing.

This can lead to more serious problems like TM (Temporo Mandibular Joint) problems. This is the joint in front of the ears where the upper and lower jaws meet (on either side). The problems can be as follows;

  • Clicking of the joint (can be on one side/ both)
  • Pain / tenderness in the joint(can be on one side or both)
  • Deviation of the lower jaw while opening the mouth
  • Lock Jaw ( ie the jaw gets stuck on opening the mouth widely eg in yawning)

Infact, there are so many increasing TMJ problems, that in many dental clinics in India, TMJ specialist dentists are routinely treating these cases.

It can also cause problems in the digestive tract.

The problem begins in the mouth, and throwing a wrench into the system by not properly chewing food can lead to problems later on down the line in the digestive tract.

When food is not well chewed and the food fragments are too big to be properly broken down, incomplete digestion occurs .This can lead to constipation, acidity, heart burn, gas etc.

Not being able to chew food leaves many people with limited choices on what they can eat. This limitation of food can lead to poor nourishment. This lack of nourishment can lead to multiple systemic diseases like  iron deficiency anaemia, brittle bones leading to recurrent fractures due to lack of Vitamin D absorbtion, weak eyesight due to lack of vitamin A etc.

There are other negative consequences of leaving missing teeth untreated, particularly to the healthy parts of the mouth.

When you can’t chew on just one side of your mouth because you have a missing tooth/ teeth, you end up doing most of your chewing on the healthier side. Over time, it is going to cause the healthy side to become over-taxed. This might affect the structure of your teeth, or harm your gums.

Therefore, eating without teeth can accelerate bone loss by wearing away at the ridges of bone they are placed on. Every time you bite down or clench, you are placing pressure on the ridge, resulting in its resorption. The more this happens the less successful are the treatments for teeth replacement if the patient decides to go for it later viz dentures. Bone is precious for dental implants as well. If it gets resorbed then during implant treatment, bone grafting needs to be done. This takes more time and involves more expenditure. For these reasons, the dentists in India are counseling patients on the importance of replacing missing teeth as soon as possible.

To prevent all the complications, in the reputed dental clinics in Delhi, dentists replace the extracted tooth immediately with an implant. This can exert the same or similar pressure as natural teeth. Thus, dental implants in India are getting more popular with the patients, as a first line of treatment for missing teeth.

Posted by- Dr Shriya

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