Tooth loss has become one of the most prevalent dental problems affecting American adults. Just because it’s common, however, doesn’t mean it should be taken lightly. The condition is more than just a cosmetic concern as permanently lost teeth can take a serious toll on an individual’s oral, digestive, and cognitive health.

Why chewing thoroughly is so important

Tooth loss is a major contributing factor to tooth decay and gum disease. When a person loses teeth, the discomfort causes him to chew less. Chewing less often results in reduced salivary secretion, a substance that contains enzymes necessary to regulate bacterial levels in the mouth. A dry mouth provides a perfect condition for plaque buildup on the enamel. This, along with inadequate oral hygiene, can soon pave the way for plaque to reach down below the gum line, destroying gum tissues and bone over time.

The weakened chewing function also prevents the other parts of the digestive system from properly absorbing nutrients from food. Chewing, after all, breaks down food into smaller bits for easier digestion. According to a dentist from Charlotte, NC, if a person no longer chews food thoroughly, two things happen: one, the body exerts more energy to break it down; and two, opportunistic bacteria flock to the guts to feast on undigested foods. As a consequence, the individual experience digestive issues such as constipation, diarrhea, cramping, and bloating.

Interestingly, tooth loss was also found to affect the ability to recall events and factual information. As per a Daily Mail article, jaw and teeth movement are responsible for sending sensory impulses that create and retrieve memory in the brain. Another theory proposes that the problem is caused by insufficient blood flow to the brain as a result of reduced chewing.

Dental implants: the long term solution to lost teeth

Stripped of its role to support teeth, the jaw bone gradually deteriorates, which explains the noticeable change in face shape among people with missing teeth. Dental implants prevent this from happening by biochemically connecting to the jaw bone and acting as the replacement for the lost dental root. No neighboring teeth have to be ground down during the procedure, and as soon as the gums heal, a crown will be attached to fill in the gap left by the missing tooth.

Dental implants can be maintained just like regular teeth and are considered the most natural of all restorations. Charlotte residents are welcome to consult with a dentist from a local practice like McNulty & Dancausse General Dentistry to determine whether they may be a good candidate for dental implantation.

Sources:

  • How Your Teeth Affect Your Digestive System, Total Health
  • Losing your teeth Can Damage Your Memory, Daily Mail