Tooth loss can be painful, embarrassing, and expensive. But while the immediate effects of tooth loss are self-evident, lost dentition also has serious long-term effects on the health. Specifically, lost teeth can lead to permanent changes in diet and result in malnutrition.
The Connection Between Tooth Loss & Poor Diet
Those with tooth loss are often faced with eating more soft and processed foods due to discomfort and inability to chew properly. Unfortunately, many of the best and healthiest foods to eat are also the ones that require chewing, including:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Lean meats.
- Whole grains.
- Nuts and seeds.
Studies about health after tooth loss have also found that even when patients with tooth loss find the appropriate restorative dental therapy for their tooth loss, their preference for soft and processed foods continues despite their restored ability to chew. In addition, studies have found that dentures and other tooth restoration solutions can result in a reduction in flavor perception.
The Consequences of Poor Diet After Tooth Loss
A poor diet of soft and processed foods can have serious long-term effects, especially on the seniors or those with systemic health issues like heart disease and diabetes. Specifically, a poor diet can lead to either unhealthy weight loss or unhealthy weight gain, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, malnutrition, dehydration, jaw bone loss, osteoporosis, stroke, and some cancers. Poor nutrition can also cause even more oral health issues, including gingivitis and tooth decay.
Keeping A Nutritious Diet After Tooth Loss
How can you ensure that you continue to eat nutritious foods and stay healthy after tooth loss? Here are three good places to start:
- Find a working tooth replacement solution. If your replacement teeth are in anyway uncomfortable or dysfunctional, it is vital to speak to a dentist about finding a better solution. For example, if your dentures do not fit correctly, you will have even more trouble eating a wide variety of foods than if they fit comfortably.
- Keep a food log or food diary. One of the best ways to track your diet is simply to write it down. Many online food logs will not only track what you’ve eaten, but also your intake of fat, protein, sugars, vitamins, and minerals.
- Take supplements. One failsafe way to make certain you are getting all of your vitamins is to take vitamins or a fortified liquid shake. Realize, though, that getting vitamins from your foods is also important.
Contact Dr. Wilcox at Montana Dental Arts
If you are struggling with tooth loss or are looking for a better tooth replacement solution, we are here to help. Please call us at (406) 728-6068 or fill out our short contact form to schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Wilcox and our team. Your healthy smile is waiting for you!