Dentures are a viable option for missing teeth—they allow your compromised smile to look and feel natural again, letting you talk, laugh, and eat with a wide grin on your face! However, recent research has shown that dentures might actually have a negative impact on your body’s overall nutrition! Keep reading to learn more about how dentures can play a role in your body’s nourishment, and how attaching your dentures to dental implants might be a viable solution.
Dentures and Chewing Force
Simply put, dentures are prosthetic teeth that are held in place with an acrylic gum-colored material; they rest on the gum tissues and obtain their functional support through their shape and how they cover the underlying jawbone. The upper denture uses suction to stay in place, while the lower requires muscle control. Traditional dentures are completely removable and don’t naturally affix themselves to anything in your mouth, so without adhesive, they can easily become loose when you eat or speak.
Dentures create limitations on the amount of chewing force your mouth can apply; your natural teeth can provide the ability to grind and tear the things we bite into, but dentures cannot. Because of this, foods like chewy meats are off limits for patients with dentures, as the prosthetic teeth are unable to effectively tear the meat fibers. Starchy foods like bread and potatoes can also be difficult to eat as they can become sticky and dislodge your dentures from their optimal position. Since the amount of chewing force your dentures can apply is relatively low, you are unable to chew food as effectively as normal. This also creates a choking hazard!
How Chewing Force Impacts Nutrition
Many people do not realize that chewing is the first step of the digestive process; the physical force of crushing the food into smaller pieces combined with the enzymes found in your saliva help your stomach acids break everything down. Studies show that chewing your food for a shorter period and swallowing larger particles impairs your body’s ability to absorb nutrients!
This can lead to many health problems including mild to moderate malnutrition. It also leads to people removing essential or preferable foods from their diet, due mostly to the frustration associated with trying to chew them.
Implant-Supported Dentures Can Help
If you’ve heard of dental implants, then you already know what they can do to restore a smile—but did you know they can also support your dentures? Dental implants can provide an interlocking connection between your dentures and your jawbone. This connection provides several advantages: not only does it hold the dentures in position over the jawbone without risk of movement, but it also helps to support and restore chewing force! Implants help your dentures the exact same way they help natural teeth; this increase in chewing force can directly translate into nutritional benefits, too.
Even though dentures are meant to help your smile, they can also potentially harm you by reducing your chewing force and by association, your overall nutrition. However, dental implants can provide an effective and convenient solution for this problem.
About the Author
Dr. Les Latner is proud to serve patients and families in Los Angeles! Dr. Latner received his DDS from the Washington University School of Dental Medicine in St. Louis and is an accredited member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and a Master of the Academy of General Dentistry. His practice is pleased to offer a wide range of services including both dentures and dental implants! If you have any questions for Dr. Latner or would like to schedule a visit, feel free to reach out online or by phone: (310) 765-7441.