By Dr. Elizabeth Ferguson
Smoky Mountain Dentistry
More than 36 million people in the United States will be without any of their natural teeth by the end of this calendar year, 2020. Despite the many advances in oral health care, full sets of dentures are not going away anytime soon.
While tooth loss is concerning, it is often associated with more obvious health issues: heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and even cancer. People who have lost all their teeth actually meet the World Health Organization criteria for being physically impaired as well as disabled. Though the most obvious consequence of not having your teeth is the difficulty of chewing, malnutrition and obesity are larger health concerns.
Poor nutrition and being overweight are directly related to your ability to chew with dentures. Because dentures don’t work the same way as natural teeth, learning to eat with these false teeth is difficult. It is much harder to chew foods like steak, and harder still to digest healthy choices such as broccoli.
Even with well-made dentures, it takes the average denture wearer 4 to 8 times longer to chew the same piece of food, having only a quarter of the bite force, as someone who has natural teeth. Fortunately, having as few as two dental implants to secure a denture can significantly improve a patient’s diet and quality of life. If you have missing or loose teeth, your dentist can help you choose the best way to save or replace your teeth and keep your whole body healthy. Visit your dentist; we’re here to help!