How Digestion Is Affected By Your Teeth


The first step of digestion is chewing (otherwise known as mastication). This takes place in the mouth, where teeth break down food and serve a very important role in the digestive process.

A full set of adult teeth should have 32 teeth – including four wisdom teeth. Sometimes, wisdom teeth may not erupt fully, in which case they’ll get taken out, if they’re causing serious pain. There are different teeth within the mouth and they all have their own jobs within the mastication process.

The front teeth, also known as ‘incisors’ are designed to cut food and push them towards the back teeth. On either side of the incisors are the ‘canines’ which help to tear food. Then, you have the molars and premolars – which aid the chewing process by crushing the food with their surfaces.

Missing teeth can affect proper mastication and therefore, proper digestion, which can have an impact on general health. Studies show that patients who lost their natural teeth will experience changes in food preferences, significant nutritional deficiencies and a reduction in vitamin A and dietary fibre intake. Anyone who has experienced a toothache will know it’s difficult to eat if you have pain, especially foods you love.

Misaligned or infected teeth can also affect proper chewing, breakdown of foods and therefore, proper digestion. Other research has shown that patients who have a low chewing performance are subject to numerous health problems. They end up taking more medication for gastrointestinal disorders than patients who have natural teeth or implant-supported dentures.

Your ability to chew your food properly is just as important as the quality of the food you eat, too. The main tools required for daily oral hygiene are daily brushing and flossing (or inter-dental cleaning if you don’t like flossing).

It is therefore essential to have healthy teeth to be able to chew foods, digest them properly and to continue enjoying your favourite dishes.

Unsure about your dental health? Find your nearest Synergy Dental Clinic to book an appointment.

A version of this blog post first appeared in the Lancashire Telegraph in April 2017.


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