How Missing Teeth Can Damage Your Health

Some people put off going to the dentist for many years and the result can be several missing teeth. Many may regret that their appearance is embarrassing because of the missing teeth but few understand what it's doing to their health in general. Read on to find out how consuming food is tricky when you are missing teeth.

Food Needs to be Thoroughly Chewed

Your teeth are built to do a job. Many don't realize it but what goes on in your mouth is the beginning of the digestive process. Your teeth are hard so that food can be masticated—completely chewed up before it passes down your throat. Even soft foods require breaking down so that you can properly digest them. When you don't have enough teeth, you may not be chewing your food and that means your stomach must work that much harder to break it down.

Not chewing your food because of missing teeth can result in gastrointestinal issues such as an upset stomach because it slows down the digestive process. That means the food is subject to bacteria growth while it tries to complete the digestive cycle. It also can cause malnutrition since your body cannot easily absorb nutrients from larger bits of food.

The Importance of Jawbone Pressure

Bones throughout the body depend on various forces to stay healthy. When it comes to the underlying bones of the jaw area, pressure assures that the bones are always regenerating and making new bone to replace any bone loss. When you avoid eating chewier foods because of the missing teeth issue, you are depriving your jawbones of the reminders of why they exist—to support your teeth. That will eventually result in a sagging lower jaw area which can not only make you look older but that can hamper efforts to replace the missing teeth later.

Gum Overuse

Your gums are made to hold your teeth in place, and they are not good for much of anything else. You cannot replace missing teeth with your gums because they are made up of soft tissue covering a bone. When you use your gums to chew because of missing teeth, you are placing too much pressure on the gums and that can lead to irritation and infections. Cuts and bruises can appear on your gums from this practice. Any open area on the gums is an invitation for bacteria and infections.

Do your mouth and your digestive tract a favor and speak to a family dental care clinic about tooth replacement options. You can choose between bridges, partial and full dentures, and dental implants.