People with missing teeth sometimes eat solid food without filling the gap with dental implants or dentures. Our oral surgeons caution against eating with missing teeth. This can cause damage to the jaw and gum line.
Teeth provide between 200 and 250 pounds of bite force. Dentures provide much less at around 50 pounds, though that’s still better than nothing.
In the absence of teeth or dentures, your jaw and gums have to pick up the work. Initially, this only causes soreness. Over time, however, this leads to more serious issues, such as infected gums and temporomandibular joint dysfunction. The jaw may also weaken and become vulnerable to fractures.
The lack of bite force also means you swallow food before it’s adequately broken down to mush. The digestive tract has to worker harder to break down the food. As a consequence, the body isn’t able to extract as many nutrients. The food also sits longer in the colon where it becomes fodder for bacteria. This leads to gas, bloating, and lethargy.
Improper chewing also means you secrete less saliva to coat the food before you swallow. Saliva contain essential digestive enzymes.
Missing a few teeth here and there doesn’t mean you have to adopt a complete food puree diet. However, we do recommend replacing the missing teeth sooner rather than later. Using dentures suffices as a temporary solution, though you do need to think of the long-term picture. Consult with a family dentist to determine if you qualify for dental implants.
Contact Mukilteo Dental Arts if you require dental implants. We provide a full spectrum of dental services ranging from general dentistry to endodontics. Eating with missing teeth has long-term health implications; please see a dentist to avoid further damage.
Edited by Justin Vorhees
General family dentistry for Mukilteo, Everett, Lynnwood, Edmonds & Mill Creek