If you are missing one or more of your adult teeth, you’re not alone; an estimated 178 million Americans have the same condition. Numerous people try to manage without all of their teeth and suffer from some of the common problems that go with the territory: problems eating certain foods, smiles that don’t look as appealing as they once did, and embarrassment in social situations.
There are other problems connected with tooth loss that are less obvious but could have a more significant impact on your health. These include oral health issues, bone loss, and nutritional difficulties.
Oral Health Issues
If you have one or two missing teeth, you may not feel an urgent need to replace them now. However, the problems that stem from missing teeth don’t get better, and in time, they can get much worse. Teeth aren’t fixed into the jaw so when even one tooth is missing, the remaining teeth tend to drift into new positions. This can cause various oral health problems, including excessive tooth wear, a higher chance of developing tooth decay, precarious tooth positions, bite problems, periodontal disease, and the loss of even more teeth.
Bone tissue needs stimulation to maintain its strength and density. When teeth are lost, the jaw bone that once supported them loses stimulation and begins to deteriorate. As the jaw becomes smaller, facial height decreases and facial features lose support. The chin rotates forward, the corners of the mouth turn downward (as if frowning), and the cheeks can appear hollow. Loss of bone in the jaw can give you the appearance of being many years older than you actually are.
It is well established that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and avoiding highly processed foods is an essential part of proper nutrition. However, many foods become challenging to chew if you have missing teeth, and those challenging foods are usually the same ones that offer the highest nutritional value. Softer foods are easier to eat, but they are often highly processed and offer little nutritional value. Along with the possibility of malnourishment, a poor diet can lead to a compromised immune system and a decline in overall health.
The consequences of tooth loss are very real, even if they are less visible than a gap in your smile, which is why it is so important not to put off the replacement of missing teeth. If you’re unsure of your teeth health and are in need of a checkup, we’re here to steer your smile back towards health.