Dental implants and eating

The purpose of dental implants is to replace missing tooth roots and to anchor a dental prosthesis or artificial teeth such as crowns, bridges or dentures. Dental implant-supported artificial teeth replacements complete a set of teeth on the upper or lower jaw, or both.

Nutrition and replacing missing teeth

The benefit of replacing missing teeth with dental implants and dental restorations is that normal oral functions such as eating and speaking may be restored for better health. Missing teeth or teeth gaps may cause oral disorders ranging from orthodontic conditions such as malocclusion or bite irregularities and gum disease to pain and malnutrition. Poor oral health may affect appetite and dietary choices.

Where oral pain is experienced due to tooth gaps or slipping dentures, dietary choices may become limited causing nutritional deficiencies that weaken the body's immune system. We need healthy nutrition to strengthen our bodies for protection against infection and disease.

Dentures and diet

Artificial teeth such as dentures that are not secured by dental implants may similarly restrict nutritional options. People with dentures not supported by dental implants may not be able to eat harder foods and may be limited to a soft food diet.

The reason is that these dentures, whether partial or complete, rely on gum structure not dental implants for support. For example, flexible dentures of nylon resin may function through gum suction. If harder foods such as toast and toffees are chewed, the denture suctioning capability may be lessened, causing the dentures to loosen in the mouth and shift around.

Ill-fitting dentures may cause friction in the mouth and irritate gum tissue leading to oral trauma. Oral discomfort may prevent healthy dietary consumption. Having dentures adjusted or securing dentures with dental implants is a way of preventing oral trauma for healthy eating.

Eating harder or coarse textured foods may result in food debris slipping between the denture plate and the gums leading to gum tissue irritation. Eating softer foods reduces likelihood of dentures becoming loose while eating or food becoming trapped between the denture plate and gums.

Dental implants and diet

Although dietary guidelines exist for pre and post dental implant operation, once healing is complete dietary choices for those with dental implants are generally not limited. Initially, some oral sensitivity may exist when consuming colder or hotter foods and when chewing hard foods, however these sensations pass over time and eating choices may resume as normal.

Dental implants return enjoyment of food experienced prior to tooth loss. Due to the control given by dental implants securing dental restorations such as dentures, bridges or crowns, they have risen in popularity and have become the perfect choice for stabilising loose dentures.

The jaw bone supports dental implants and having healthy bone density through sufficient Vitamin D and calcium intake is important to maintain good jaw bone quality and maintain dental implants. As we age, building bone strength is important to prevent bone loss and the primary way in which we do this is through the foods we choose to eat.