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Health Risks of Eating without Teeth or Dentures

It is very difficult to lead a normal life with missing teeth. Apart from being unable to smile in public and speaking coherently (some words just can’t be pronounced) eating becomes a very great ordeal. Poor eating can lead to a plethora of health problems.

Trying to eat hard foodstuffs like tough meat when you have a couple of teeth missing is quite impossible, which will result in malnourishment and ill-health. People with missing teeth are beset with problems, and here are 7 health risks of eating without teeth or dentures:

Risks involved in living with missing teeth

  1. Diseases in the Gums

Loss of a few teeth results in people having to chew food with their gums. When some hard foodstuffs come directly in contact with the gums it can lead to small cuts and sores that can end up as major infections. While natural teeth have a much higher bite force, with false teeth it is much lower, and the bite force of the gums is very poor indeed. Dentures are a good alternative to natural teeth and help chew food to an extent but chewing food with gums is next to impossible. It can only lead to sores, discomfort and infections in the soft tissue in the gums.

  1. Problems with the Joint

If gum diseases can pose a problem for people with missing teeth, a much more severe problem arises when the temporomandibular joint gets affected due to loss of teeth. This can seriously affect the normal functioning of the jaws because of too much pressure being put on the jaws. Missing teeth can put more pressure on that part of the gums leading to joint pain and other complications.

  1. Jaw Bone Resorption

People eating food with missing teeth, especially when they don’t wear dentures, can lead to gradual bone resorption. When the jaw bone becomes weak it is difficult to use dentures and almost impossible to have tooth implants. Apart from that there is also a chance of fractures occurring in the jaw bone, which can be painful and lead to expensive treatment options.

  1. Reduced Saliva Secretion

Saliva is an important natural secretion which helps in the digestion process that starts in the mouth itself. Saliva helps convert food into bolus, which is easier to swallow and aids in the digestion process in the stomach. The salivary glands are activated whenever food is chewed in the mouth. When food is improperly chewed, as when there are missing teeth, saliva production is greatly reduced, which is another cause for indigestion.

  1. Gastrointestinal Disorders

Missing teeth can lead to problems in the stomach. The digestion process starts in the mouth when saliva mixes with the food. Reduced saliva production leads to decrease of amylase, which is important as it acts on the starch present in the food. This results in food not being broken down in a proper manner which can affect the digestion process. Apart from indigestion, the patients can also suffer from malnutrition as the nutrients present in the food are not broken down and absorbed into the system.

  1. Risk of Losing Adjacent Teeth

The problems arising out of a couple of missing teeth are not restricted to chewing and digesting food. If missing teeth are not replaced with proper dentures or tooth implants, the pressure on the adjacent teeth increases. This increased pressure leads to loosening of the adjacent teeth. The risk is heightened when hard foodstuffs are chewed and the pressure on the bare gums increases. Over some time, the adjacent teeth become shaky and the patient runs the risk of losing more teeth.

Considering the above issues, it is better to maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly. Brushing at least twice per day is recommended. The American Dental Association recommends flossing at least once daily to remove the plaque accumulating in between the teeth and to maintain a healthy mouth.