Many people don’t realize that having a missing tooth can restrict what you’re able to eat. Think about it: foods that are normally hard to chew become nearly impossible to chew without teeth. Unfortunately, many of the foods we need for a healthy, balanced diet – like vegetable or nuts – are all difficult to chew, even if you have all of your original teeth.
The consumption of soft, easy-to-chew foods can result in poor nutrition choices and not enough of the essential nutrients you need. This leads to many health risks — both oral and overall — if people with missing teeth inadvertently avoid certain foods.
Eating with Missing Teeth: Health Risks Abound
Even one damaged tooth can impede your ability to bite and chew — and that can lead to a negative effect on your oral health and your overall health.
The first health impact of missing teeth is often a decreased appetite. This is more serious than it sounds. Tooth loss damages your natural sensory input: that means taste and texture preferences change, which causes people to enjoy food less. Combine that with any pain or stress of eating due to missing teeth, and people begin to avoid certain foods (usually the healthiest foods, which should be consumed every day), and eating less in general. If this continues over a long period of time, it can severely impact a person’s health.
There are other negative consequences to leaving missing teeth untreated, particularly to the healthy parts of the mouth. For example, you can’t chew on just the side of your mouth with a missing tooth, you end chewing mainly on the healthier side. Over time, this will cause the healthy side to become over-taxed. This might affect the structure of your teeth, or harm your gums.
Further complicating matters is the fact that most missing teeth are in the back, where we do the majority of our chewing. When you skip certain foods because of difficulty chewing without your teeth, it prevents you from eating a balanced and nutritious diet; when this happens, you’ll quickly experience adverse effects on your overall health.
Dental Implants vs. Dentures for Missing Teeth
Dental implants (unlike other treatments for missing teeth, such as dentures) look and feel like real teeth – plus they’re a permanent, stable fixture, which restores your ability to eat normal food, and makes eating enjoyable again.
With dentures, eventually you’ll be able to eat most foods, but you’ll still need to stay away from hard foods such a raw vegetables or nuts, sticky foods like chewing gum or saltwater taffy, and hot liquids. This is one huge benefit of dental implants over dentures — no food restrictions! However, taste is affected when your upper pallet is covered by a denture.
However, taste is affected when your upper pallet is covered by a denture.
That’s not to say that dentures aren’t worth considering. They can often work wonders when used with other dental treatments. The best example? When dental implants support dentures, the traditional problems associated with dentures (usually rubbing and sliding) simply go away.
Any patient who has had a tooth problem knows it’s tough to eat while it’s happening. For patients with missing teeth – that’s all the time!
I especially think of this during the holiday season. Many people indulge in tasty holiday treats like candy or toffee that can be hard on the teeth – and impossible to eat with missing teeth. Holidays are often about getting together with friends and family to eat together. For patients with missing teeth, this can cause anxiety and frustration about being able to fully participate in holiday meals. The great news is that implants can help!
With dental implants, I can restore your natural ability to chew, so you can eat the food you love and need. There are no dietary restrictions with dental implants!
If you’re affected by tooth loss and have trouble eating certain foods, call me today!
Let’s do the right thing for your oral and overall health, and restore your natural smile.