Healthy Eating As We Age

The condition of our teeth has a marked impact on our overall diet and health

As we get older, it is only natural that, through wear and tear, our teeth are not as strong as they once were. Long gone are the days when we could confidently bite down hard onto crunchy or chewy foods; in our later years this can be quite difficult if we have little confidence in our teeth or the security of our dentures.

Whilst being unable to chew toffee of crunch boiled sweets may not be a great overall loss; having poor quality teeth does often mean that people tend to select softer foods to eat and refrain from eating those which may prove harder to chew. This can have two effects, the lesser one being that we are more limited when it comes to choosing from a menu when eating out, but more importantly, it may mean that we are not getting the nutrients we need for a healthy long life if we restrict what we eat.

In our London dental practice which is based in Harley Street, we know that things don’t have to be his way. Although part of having healthy teeth into old age depends to a great degree on taking good care of them throughout our lives, other factors such as accidents or side effects of medications may mean that even this does not guarantee having healthy teeth all of our lives. In fact, most people will lose at least a few teeth by the time they have reached retirement age and the great majority of these will have them replaced with dentures.

Dentures are all very well and good, but they are not without their problems. For a start, they nearly always work loose to some degree (this is caused by bone loss in the jaw once a tooth has been lost); this means that there is still some limitation on the foods which are easy to eat. There is little worse that eating out in a social situation when your dentures move or get stuck on some food; a quick trip to the bathroom is often needed to sort this out. Increasingly, at our Harley Street practice, we are seeing a number of patients having their dentures replaced by a new procedure usually referred to as either an ‘all on 4’ or ‘teeth in a day’. As the name implies, this is a one time visit procedure and is done using dental implants. This is especially ideal to replace a full arch of teeth. To do this, two dental implants are placed at the front of the mouth; these are standard dental implants and are placed at a 90 degree angle; the two implants at the rear however, are a bespoke design and to provide extra strength, are placed at carefully calculated angles. Once these have been placed, a fixed bridge is then attached to them and is held firmly in place by the implants. A similar technique can be used to stabilise dentures too although a fixed bridge is often the preferred option. In many cases, if any teeth are needed to be extracted, the implants can be placed directly into the socket of the recently extracted tooth. This will vary though and the dentist will advise you of the best approach.

This whole procedure can be done in a single visit and you will leave our practice with a brand new set of teeth. Naturally, there may be some soreness after the procedure and you should certainly stick to softer foods during the healing period. Once this has passed though and the implants are fully integrated, you should be able to eat anything that you desire; adding to your chances of living a long and healthy life with a great new smile to boot.

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