If you’re missing a tooth in the front of your mouth, you may immediately think that you need to replace the tooth so your smile isn’t ruined. But it’s not all about appearance. In fact, you should always replace missing teeth no matter where they were located in your mouth. Not doing so can have a negative impact on your oral health, and your oral health is directly related to your overall health. Here are some very important reasons why you should replace missing teeth in order to maintain good oral health.
- Missing teeth can throw off your bite. Your “bite” is the way in which your top and bottom teeth naturally come together in your mouth. When your bite is thrown off, your jaw may rest differently on one side of your mouth. This can eventually lead to pain and discomfort in your jaw, and could negatively impact the way you chew food.
- Missing teeth may affect the way you speak. If you have gaps in your mouth where you are missing teeth, it changes the way your tongue moves in your mouth when you speak. That can result in lisping or slurring some words.
- Missing teeth can make you more prone to developing cavities. The gaps in your mouth left behind when you lose one or more teeth create an excellent place for bacteria to collect. That same bacteria easily spreads to other parts of your mouth, and built-up bacteria leads to tartar, plaque and cavities.
- Missing teeth affects how you chew your food. If you can’t chew food properly, you’re more likely to suffer from digestive problems – such as indigestion or acid reflux. Those digestive issues, in turn, can lead to more serious problems.
- Missing teeth can change the shape of your face. If you are missing several teeth, over time it will actually cause your face to change shape. This is particularly true of your jaw, which may have a tendency to slide to one side or the other, depending on where the gaps in your mouth are located. Your chin may jut out slightly, and your cheeks may appear to be more sunken after a period of time if you don’t have your teeth replaced.
Fortunately, there are several different methods dentists can use to replace missing teeth, such as bridges, implants and partial dentures, to name a few. If you are missing teeth, talk to your dentist to decide which of these replacement methods is best for you.