According to the American College of Prosthodontics, roughly 40 million adults are missing all their teeth—and even more are missing multiple teeth! Having missing teeth is a very serious oral health concern that affects the way you speak, eat, laugh, and more. But luckily, solutions like dentures exist for the sole purpose of restoring your smile to a healthy and functional state. However, even though they’re meant to help, did you know that dentures can actually inhibit your body’s overall nutrition? Here’s what you need to know about how dentures influence your diet and what you can do to ensure your body is acquiring the energy it needs.
The Connection Between Dentures & Chewing Force
Typically, dentures are held in place with a gum-colored adhesive material. They rest on your gums and obtain most of their support through their shape and how they cover your jawbones. The better your dentures fit, the better they’ll function. If you have upper dentures, they will also use suction to stay in place; lower dentures rely more on muscle control. When your dentures are in their correct positions, they move and function like your missing teeth.
However, traditional dentures aren’t permanently affixed to anything in your mouth, meaning they can easily become loose when you speak, chew, or simply move your jaw. If your dentures are slipping and sliding around your mouth, things like biting and chewing become quite difficult. In fact, studies show that wearing dentures only gives you around 20 – 20% of your original bite force! This drastic reduction means you’re unable to effectively bite, tear, or grind certain foods like chewy meats, crisp fruits and veggies, and starchy items like potatoes and bread.
How Chewing Force Impacts Your Body’s Nutrition
Chewing is technically the first step of the digestive process. The physical process of breaking food into smaller particles, combined with the powerful digestive enzymes found in your saliva, assist your stomach in breaking everything down. Swallowing larger food particles isn’t just a choking hazard—your stomach has more difficulty trying to digest them and extract nutrients. If your body can’t effectively digest your food, problems like malnutrition can develop. Because of the active reduction to your chewing force caused by dentures, wearing them can be detrimental to your overall nutrition!
How Supporting Your Dentures with Implants Can Help
If you’ve heard of dental implants, you’re probably familiar with the incredible things they’re capable of—among their many applications is the ability to support your dentures! They can assist your dentures the same way they’d normally assist your mouth. They provide a strong, interlocking connection between your jaws and dentures that adds foundational support and stability. This means that your dentures will remain stable in their correct positions over the jawbones, and they won’t shift around when you bite or move your jaw.
Even though they’re meant to help you, dentures can end up hurting you by reducing your mouth’s chewing force and decreasing your body’s overall nutrition! But implant-supported dentures are a viable solution that can help to ensure you’re able to fuel up as normal.
About the Author
Dr. Matthew Nawrocki received his DMD from the University of Florida College of Dentistry and is involved in numerous professional organizations including the American Dental Association, the Florida Dental Association, the American College of Prosthodontics, and the Florida Prosthodontic Association. His practice is proud to serve patients and families in Orange Park and the surrounding area. To schedule a visit, please reach out online or by phone: (904) 272-1588.