Being Toothless: Mental and Physical Effects in Adults


The mental and physical effects of being toothless in adults are both significant. This article will explore the results of a study that followed American adults for several years. It also presents the implications of those findings based on a separate study.

Though dentures may be seen as a solution, tooth replacement provides the best outcome for those who are missing teeth. This article will also explore the disadvantages of dentures and the benefits of dental implants.

Mental Effects of Being Toothless in Adults

Tooth loss can have a significant impact on an adult’s mental health. A study posted by the Cambridge University Press in May 2021 found that tooth loss is associated with an increased risk for major depression. The study looked at data from almost 170,000 adults and found that those who had lost 10 or more teeth were more likely to suffer from major depression equivalent to having no mental health treatment. The study also found that the number of teeth lost was directly proportional to the severity of the depression.

Cytokines produced by periodontal disease inflammation are major factors in depression. The study also found that people who lost 10 or more teeth are more likely to experience sleep problems, loss of appetite, and decreased energy. These problems can lead to chronic stress, which also contributes to depression. In addition, people with major teeth loss are more likely to experience hypothalamus hyperactivity, which can produce more cortisol, also a major factor in depression.

In a relation to this, when people who have major loss of teeth suffer from major depressive disorder, they develop a high risk of developing other mental health disorders according to a study from the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA). Also, people suffering from a major depressive disorder have a high risk of being self-destructive, with about 67 percent contemplating taking their own life. Some 15 percent become fatalities.

Physical Effects of Being Toothless in Adults

The physical effects of being toothless are also significant. Adults who are missing teeth are more likely to experience difficulty eating. They cannot chew most types of food and have to limit themselves to a soft diet. They are deprived of the pleasure of enjoying a wide variety of food. As a result, they lose interest in eating. This affects their nutritional intake and their health.

They may also have trouble speaking because their teeth play a role in producing certain sounds. This can lead to social isolation and withdrawal. It can affect their career because they tend to shy away from people.

Tooth loss also affects the way a person looks. It can make a person look much older than their chronological age. This can lead to a loss of self-esteem and confidence. Again, that can affect their career development and trajectory.

Man eating a strawberry

Disadvantages of Dentures as a Solution

While dentures can be seen as a solution to tooth loss, they have several disadvantages. If not properly fitted, they are uncomfortable to wear and can cause gum irritation and pain.

They are removable, so they tend to move around in the mouth. This causes difficulty in speaking. They also tend to click as the person speaks, making the wearer self-conscious.

People wearing dentures still cannot eat all types of food. Therefore, it does not solve that problem. They can also slip out of place, which can be embarrassing.

As a result, people who have lost a lot of teeth and who wear dentures do not experience much improvement in their problems.

Dental Implants as the Best Solution

The good news is that there is a better solution to lost teeth that feel and act like natural teeth. They are true replacements that offer a more permanent solution to tooth loss.

Dental implants are surgically implanted into the jawbone and fuse with the bone over time. This makes them stronger than natural teeth and will not slip out of place. Because the tooth is made out of ceramic, it will not stain or decay like natural teeth. It looks like your natural teeth, though, because it will be colored to match them.

Dental implants also allow people to eat all types of food. They do not have to worry about their dentures slipping out of place or clicking when they talk.

Dental implants are the best solution for tooth loss because they offer a more permanent and comfortable solution. They also look and feel like natural teeth. Dental implants can help people who are missing teeth regain their confidence and improve their quality of life.

If you are missing teeth, talk to your dentist about dental implants. They can help you decide if dental implants are the right solution for you.

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