So I’ve Lost My Teeth, Now What?
How having no teeth affects your health and well-being
Most of us expect at some point in our lives, to need dentures. It may be just one or two teeth if we’re lucky, but for others, it may mean whole dentures – that is both upper and lower sets, or just one or the other. We’re fortunate to have that option. Consider for a moment, the alternative.
No teeth, is it a big deal?
Well, the Australian Government’s Department of Health seems to think so. An oral health plan [i] they devised (2004-2013), highlights the importance of oral health and the impact it has on our overall health and well-being.
While we’re in possession of a healthy mouth, it’s hard to imagine the impact losing teeth will have on our lives. But affect our lives it can, in many subtle and pervasive ways, like the areas of nutrition, work, social life, sleeping, and long-term health issues.
The Bad News
Loss of teeth and oral gum disease can prevent us from eating the kinds of foods we enjoy, including those needed for proper nutrition. But that’s not all. A painful mouth or missing teeth not only make us feel miserable and spoils our appetites, but may also prevent us from speaking properly. Missing teeth can alter our appearance, make us smile less, or even avoid social situations, thus causing social isolation and lowered self-esteem. These factors may then impact our working lives as we worry about how we might be perceived, say in job interviews for example, or having to front the public in the course of our employment.[ii] You can see how the effects can snowball.
More concerning, the oral disease that led to the loss of our teeth may have long-term implications for our health. Associations between chronic oral infections and disease, and other life-threatening disorders like stroke, heart, and lung disease have been noted by international researchers.
The study explains: ‘Oral diseases and disorders create short-term and prolonged physical discomfort. Pain, infection, and tooth loss are the most common consequences of oral disease, causing difficulties with chewing, swallowing, speaking, and can disrupt sleep and productivity. The National Survey of Adult Oral Health 2004–06 indicates that of the Australian population: 17.4 percent avoid foods due to dental problems; 15.1 percent experience toothache; and 22.6 percent experience orofacial (jaw) pain. Dental disease can also lead to the destruction of soft tissues in the mouth, leading to lasting disability and, in rare cases, death.’[iii].
The Good News
Those are frightening statistics. But all is not lost. The good news is, we are living in the 21st century Australia, so even though you may have been afflicted in the past – you may even have lost all your natural teeth – addressing mouth infections and disease, maintaining a good diet and having a quality, well-fitting denture made, can turn negatives in to positives. Not having the financial where-with-all doesn’t have to be a problem either. See our team for helpful advice on affordable ways to manage the cost of a new denture with a payment plan.
Now, pass me another apple!
[iii] Harford, J. and Spencer A.J. Chapter 7 – Oral Health Perceptions, In Slade, G.D., Spencer, A.J., Roberts–Thomson, K.F. (editors) (2007), Australia’s Dental Generations: The National Survey of Adult Oral Health 2004–06, AIHW Dental Statistics and Research Series No. 34, pp.173–184.
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