Your oral health can greatly affect the types of foods you eat. This can greatly affect your overall nutrition, which significantly impacts your general health. A number of studies have indicated that the problem of missing teeth is linked to a quantitatively poorer diet. In a study of United States veterans (Chauncey et. al. 1984), people with impaired chewing ability preferred soft, easily chewed foods that were lower in fiber and had lower nutrient density than foods eaten by people who could chew normally.
Oral Health In America: A Report of the Surgeon General, states that “Quality of life clearly suffers when individuals are forced to limit food choices and the foods chosen do not provide optimal nutrition.” High fiber foods are a critically important part of a healthy diet. Unfortunately, the foods that are highest in fiber content are usually the hardest foods to chew for patients with missing teeth, failing teeth, and/or dentures.
The foods that denture wearers and people with failing or missing teeth find easiest to chew are very soft and typically have high calorie counts and are loaded with carbohydrates. This only exacerbates the problem of obesity in the United States. Omitting fiber-rich foods from your diet can also lead to a variety of intestinal problems such as constipation. Importantly, fiber-rich foods serve to hold nutrients in our bodies for longer, allowing for more disease-preventing anti-oxidants and other nutrients to be absorbed into our system.
Dental implants and other advances in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery provide a permanent solution for patients with missing or failing teeth. People with dental implants can eat the same food as patients with healthy teeth, and do not have to sacrifice their health by eliminating nutritionally dense, fiber-rich foods.
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