7 Ways Eating With Missing Teeth Is Difficult, And How Implants Help

Is it hard to eat with a missing tooth

The Vital Role Our Teeth Play in Our Overall Health

We all aspire to have a beautiful smile. But the fact is that a beautiful and healthy smile is not just nice to look at, but it also plays a vital role in our overall health and well-being. Unfortunately, tooth loss becomes a common problem as we age, with most Americans losing an average of 12 teeth by age 50, leaving them with only 20 teeth to chew and speak with. This loss of teeth can lead to many difficulties when it comes to eating, such as limited food options and decreased nutritional intake. In this article, we explore seven ways it can be hard to eat with a missing tooth and how dental implants can change that.

Is it hard to eat with a missing tooth?

Losing a tooth can be a frustrating and embarrassing experience, but what many people don’t realize is that it can also affect their ability to eat comfortably. The simple act of biting and chewing food can become a real challenge with a missing tooth, as it can alter how your teeth come together, making it difficult to break down food properly.

1. Wear and Tear on Gums

When you’re missing teeth, your gums must work overtime to compensate for the lack of teeth. This can lead to irritation, inflammation, and even gingivitis. Over time, this wear and tear on your gums can cause discomfort and sensitivity.

2. Excess Strain on Your Jaw

Chewing food requires a lot of effort from your jaw muscles. When you are missing teeth, your remaining teeth must work harder to compensate for the gaps, putting extra strain on your jaw. This can lead to jaw pain, headaches, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues.

3. Burden on Surrounding Teeth

Missing teeth can also place a burden on the teeth surrounding the gaps. These teeth have to work harder to compensate for the missing teeth, which can lead to wear and tear, fractures, and even tooth loss.

4. Digestive Issues

Difficulty in chewing food due to missing teeth can lead to digestive issues such as stomach pain, bloating, and indigestion. Further, a study published in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology suggests a link between missing teeth and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), possibly due to an overgrowth of harmful gut bacteria. While missing teeth are just one potential factor in IBS, maintaining good dental hygiene and addressing missing teeth can help manage IBS symptoms and promote digestive health.

5. Acid Reflux Symptoms

Not being able to chew your food properly can also lead to an overproduction of stomach acid. This can cause erosion of the stomach lining and enamel erosion, leading to soft teeth, tooth decay, and painful acid reflux symptoms.

Plus, when missing teeth make it difficult to chew food properly, the stomach may produce excess acid to break down large food particles, leading to painful acid reflux symptoms. A World Journal of Gastroenterology study found that tooth loss was associated with a higher incidence of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Treating missing teeth with dental implants or dentures can improve chewing ability, reduce the risk of GERD and other digestive issues, and promote overall digestive health.

6. Increased Risk of Choking While Swallowing

Chewing is an essential part of the digestive process. Missing teeth can increase your risk of choking, especially in older adults with difficulty swallowing or other underlying health conditions. In fact, individuals with fewer teeth have a higher risk of choking on food than those with more teeth. And tooth loss is associated with a higher risk of malnutrition in older adults, reinforcing the importance of addressing missing teeth to maintain proper nutrition and reduce choking risk.

7. Nutrient Deficiencies

When you stick to a soft foods diet, you’re limited in what you can consume. This can lead to nutrient deficiencies and impact your overall health. Eating various foods is essential for getting all the nutrients your body needs to function correctly.

Dental implants make it so that you can eat healthily again.

Dental implants are an excellent option for restoring your smile and chewing function if you have one or more missing teeth. Dental implants are designed to look, feel, and function like natural teeth. They are as strong and sometimes stronger than natural teeth and, once fully healed, allow you to safely and effectively eat all foods.

Unlike dentures or bridges, dental implants are a permanent solution to missing teeth and can last a lifetime with proper care. They also help prevent bone loss in the jaw and improve overall oral health. Dental implants allow you to enjoy a beautiful, healthy smile and confidently eat your favorite foods.

Staley Dental can restore your ability to eat and smile.

If you’re struggling with missing teeth, you may be experiencing a range of issues that affect your ability to chew, digest, and enjoy your food. Dental implants offer a long-lasting and effective solution to missing teeth, allowing you to enjoy all the foods you love confidently.

Staley Dental is committed to providing exceptional dental care to patients in Boise, ID, and surrounding areas. Our experienced team will work with you to determine the best treatment option. Don’t let missing teeth impact your nutrition and well-being any longer. Contact us today to request an appointment and take the first step toward a healthier, happier smile.