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Tooth Loss ... Can it affect our health?

When teeth are infected it is not advisable to leave them and do nothing about them. Research says that inflammation and infection somewhere really means inflammation and infection everywhere. Inflammation can contribute to heart disease, diabetes, and kidney disease, to name just a few. The risks of these diseases goes down when the inflammation is removed from the mouth. When a person loses their infected teeth their general health can improve, but this can be a trade off. Nature doesn't like a vacuum and when teeth are lost and not replaced the remaining teeth can shift, tip, and drift. This changes the way forces of chewing and function are applied to the teeth which can result in more tooth loss. As well, the oral volume can change, and the jaw position can also change. This can lead to a set of new problems. The face can develop a caved-in appearance leading to esthetic problems. Speech patterns may change and a person might have to learn new ways to create the sounds that were once second nature. Chewing efficiency can decrease leading to dietary changes ... less fresh fruits and vegetables, more soft highly processed fattier foods. These dietary changes can again lead to diabetes, heart disease, gastrointestinal disorders. Complete tooth loss can also predispose a person to sleep disordered breathing ... sleep apnea. This is because the anatomical changes that occur can lead to narrower upper airway. We once thought that the only reason to replace teeth was for better chewing efficiency and esthetics. We now know that these are not the only reasons. Replacing missing teeth as they are lost can support the jaws and airway to help prevent sleep apnea (a potentially life-threatening problem) , maintain a healthy diet to prevent susceptibility to diseases. Our goal in the 21st Century is to save teeth and keep them healthy. There are still certain times that tooth removal is the only option. In these situations is important not only to remove the offending tooth, but to replace it as well.