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It All Starts In the Mouth

SCMC-11-12-2010by Chris Edwards, DDS

December/January 2010

Teeth are gears that demolish chunks of food

A MOUTH missing important chewing teeth can have them returned into service, which takes stress off the other remaining teeth. Just one implant can have a tremendous effect on the whole chewing system.

 

Most people when asked about nutrition are concerned with the nutritional content of the food they eat. While there is no doubt that this is important, an overlooked part of the discussion is the effectiveness of the mechanical processing of the food we eat, from chewing to digestion and the uptake of the nutrients from the food.

It all starts in the mouth. The smallest taste, smell or anticipation of food sends signals to your brain, which in turn sends messages to your salivary glands to get ready. They secrete moisture and numerous enzymes that break down food into simpler forms.

We have eight powerful molars in our mouths, two on the top and two on the bottom on each side. Your teeth are the gears to demolish chunks of food by a series of actions such as clamping, slashing, piercing, grinding and crushing.

Impaired Digestion

When you have problems in your mouth, particularly pain, this first step in digestion is impaired. Pain from mouth sores, infection or tooth decay inhibits the clamping, slashing, piercing, grinding and crushing actions of your teeth. To avoid pain, you may find yourself avoiding chewing altogether, sticking to soft foods or swallowing improperly chewed food that is harder to digest.

If you have a missing tooth and don’t have it replaced, you end up losing two teeth, not just one. When you take away a top tooth, the bottom tooth has nothing to chew against. It’s useless. You have just lost 25 percent of your molars’ chewing efficiency. Take away two teeth and you have lost 50 percent efficiency.

We’ve all heard the saying, “you are what you eat,” but that’s not entirely accurate. We are what we assimilate. If you are not able to chew your food properly, your body will not be able to digest it. Regardless of how nutritious your food is, if it isn’t digested properly, it has little or no nutritional value.

Your dental health provider does more than make beautiful smiles. They are the guardians of the first step in proper digestion and the processing of your diet for optimal nutritional benefit. Dental pain can be eliminated, and missing teeth replaced.

Dental Implants Modern Miracle

A mouth that was missing important chewing teeth can have them returned into service, which takes stress off the other remaining teeth. Just one implant can have a tremendous effect on the whole chewing system. Dentures that are anchored to the jawbone with implants are much more effective at chewing than dentures that are not anchored. Bites (the way the teeth fit together) can be improved with orthodontics, and reconstruction with crowns and bridges create the optimal mechanical design and support for effective chewing.

There are proven long-term benefits to a healthy diet and proper nutrition. Make the best of the food you eat with an efficient digestive system that starts in the mouth with healthy teeth.

 

Dr. Edwards graduated from the United States Merchant Marine Academy and Temple University School of Dentistry. He completed a general practice residency at the Queens Medical Center in Honolulu. To reach Dr. Edwards you may call 321-751-7775 or visit www.SDICFL.com