We all know that our teeth are useful for chewing. However, how often have you thought of the many other things that your teeth do for you? Unless you experience the loss of teeth, you never realize the many things that your teeth were useful for besides chewing food. Plus, there are a couple of other uses for teeth that you may never personally encounter. Check out this list from our dentist in Sarasota.
1. Pronouncing words
Your tongue and lips interact with your teeth to restrict the airflow in certain ways while you’re speaking. This gives you the ability to pronounce all the different consonants and vowels that are part of your language. Without teeth, you would still be able to speak, but you’d have to work extra hard to pronounce certain sounds, such as /t/, /f/, and /v/.
2. Maintaining bone structure
The presence of teeth means you will be chewing, and the action of chewing helps to trigger your body to keep reinforcing the jawbone. Stop chewing, and your body will begin to reabsorb this bone material, leading to bones that are gradually smaller and less dense. This can lead to a higher likelihood of fractures, and it can limit the number of dental procedures that you would even be a candidate for, meaning that you could have to settle for your second-choice option rather than your preferred solution. These bones also support the muscles that we use for facial expressions, and the loss of bone can even change the basic look of your face, leading to a longer upper lip, loss of muscle tone, and an increase in the depth of the vertical lines in your face, aging your appearance. Furthermore, the loss of bone leads to loss of gum tissue. It’s hard to believe that your teeth play all these roles just by chewing and keeping the surrounding bone strong, firm, and robust.
3. Producing and holding in saliva
Nobody wants to accidentally drool, but when you have teeth, they form an additional barrier to keep in the saliva that’s in your mouth. If you don’t have teeth, your lips can still hold in your saliva, but you have to pay more conscious attention to stop it from running out.
Additionally, having teeth actually helps foster adequate saliva production, because the act of chewing stimulates the salivary glands. This releases valuable enzymes that help to pre-digest your food, making it easier for your gastrointestinal tract to do its job.
Yes, you can smile without teeth, but many people don’t want to. The lack of teeth can lead to a severe (and understandable) self-consciousness, as you know that people are noticing the absence of teeth in your mouth. Smiling less can actually make you feel less happy, so you could even argue that teeth are even useful for promoting happiness.
5. Protecting you from health problems
There are several health problems that are more likely to occur in people who are missing their teeth. Trying to chew food using only your gums can lead to gum diseases and TMJ problems. Plus, the lack of ability to chew normally can lead to nutrient deficiencies, as it will be more difficult for you to break food down into particles that your body can easily absorb. A deficit of key nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and enzymes, can lead to health complications.
Contact Our Sarasota Dentist Today
Here at our dentist’s office in Sarasota, we believe in helping you to keep your teeth for a lifetime through effective preventive dentistry, and we’re also here to repair or correct any problems in your teeth that arise. Please schedule your appointment today.