The Health Effects of Missing Teeth

It’s never pleasant to lose teeth, especially as you get older. In addition to hurting your self-esteem and making it hard to smile for pictures, losing teeth can have a significant impact on your overall health. Here are just a few of the serious health effects of missing teeth, and why dental implants might be the solution you are seeking.

Speech Problems

One of the first problems that most people notice after losing a tooth is trouble with speech. Even a single missing tooth can cause an embarrassing lisp, and more might distort your words enough to make it hard for others to understand you. Some people are so embarrassed about their missing teeth that they avoid talking altogether, giving people the impression that they are unfriendly or unhappy.

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Shifting Teeth

When you lose a tooth, your mouth responds by shifting your other teeth to span the gap. This mechanism is likely an evolutionary trait designed to make it easier for our ancestors to continue eating despite losing one or more teeth. Unfortunately for you, this means that losing a tooth might cause embarrassing gaps between your front teeth. It also means that the shifted teeth are less secure than before, and that teeth which were previously well placed to withstand bite forces may not be now.

Bone Loss

Your jawbone tissue relies on constant dental stimulation from eating and talking to stay healthy and strong. Unfortunately, once teeth go missing, the bone doesn’t receive this stimulation, and it starts to decline. Once a tooth goes missing, the bone in the area can lose as much as 25% of its width in the first year, and then four additional millimeters over the next couple of years. This bone loss can make it difficult to have dental implants placed in the future without bone grafting.

Changing Facial Shape

Once bone starts to melt away, it can change the shape of your entire jaw. Over time, the lower half of your face becomes more caved in and saggy. Bone reabsorption can also give you a prematurely aged look due to loose, sunken skin.

Malnutrition

Research has shown that people who are missing teeth frequently struggle with malnutrition. Patients with missing teeth can have difficulties chewing nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables, which can translate to poorer overall health. In fact, studies have shown that there is a statistically significant tie between tooth loss and low caloric intake, which affected energy levels in the patients missing teeth.

Medication Dosages

Because tooth loss can have such a significant impact on your health, it has been tied to higher medication dosages overall. Since every medication comes with its own list of potential side effects, higher medication dosage could affect your quality of life.

Dimished Memory

Research out of England has even shown a correlation between missing teeth and your ability to recall past events. According to a study conducted by the European Journal of Oral Sciences, the lower the number of natural teeth, the more difficulty people have remembering things. In fact, patients with more natural teeth or dental implants were able to recall past events more than 4% better than people with fewer teeth.

Dental Implants: A Modern Miracle

Fortunately, you can avoid all of these health problems by meeting with Dr. Karl A. Rose to talk about dental implants in Washington DC. Unlike dentures or bridges, dental implants are independently supported by your natural bone tissue, which stimulates your jawbone and prevents bone loss. Dental implants are also incredibly natural looking, beautiful, and easy to take care of. If you think that dental implants might be right for you, make an appointment today for a consultation.