Eating with a missing tooth is neither fun nor comfortable, but you can get used to it. The issue is that, aside from the social consequences of having missing teeth, it can cause health problems as well. While anyone can adapt to life without a tooth, complications arise over time and these can cause significant health issues down the road.
Gum and jaw problems caused by missing teeth
It takes a lot of pressure from your jaw to crush food. When you have all your teeth, this pressure is distributed evenly. When you don’t, the other teeth must pick up the slack for the places where the missing teeth aren’t placing any pressure. Your jaw, gums, and remaining teeth must work that much harder to do the work of chewing. This can cause premature wear and tear on your remaining teeth, gums, and jaw. That, in turn, results in TMJ, a pain disorder of the jaw that can cause headaches, neck pain, and more. The extra wear on your gums can result in infection and gum disease.
Digestive problems caused by missing teeth
Remember when your mom told you that you needed 40 bites before you could swallow? Well, while there’s no scientific standard for the number of bites required to safely swallow a foodstuff, the less chewed up your food is, the more likely it can become lodged in your esophagus and result in choking.
Further, food that is not completely chewed becomes difficult to digest. This can result in food rotting in your gut because it’s too large to fully absorb. This is known as a bezoar. Bezoars are often the result of missing teeth or poorly fitting dentures. While bezoars alone aren’t necessarily dangerous, they can cause dangerous blockages in the stomach and large intestine. This results in the loss of nutrients and can result in bowel and stomach problems.
Eating with missing teeth
If you have missing teeth or you wear dentures but don’t like wearing them while you eat, your best alternative is to eat soft food until your mouth has been adequately staffed with teeth again. While dentures are still an option, you can exert considerably less force with them than you can with your real teeth. Alternatively, dental implants remain an option for those who would prefer the look and feel of real teeth over glue-on dentures.
Obviously, the human body was not meant to sustain itself on mashed potatoes and applesauce, and most proteins don’t respond well to a blender. Hence, the best and most sustainable solution is to have the missing teeth replaced with dental implants to restore both the look and functionality of real human teeth.
Let Us Help You Today
If you’re asking yourself, “what can I eat if missing a tooth,” we can help. Our Cottonwood dentists at Peak Family Dental Care can also help fit you with your first set of dental implants. Call our office today to learn more about how we can assist you.