written by Jimmy Kilimitzoglou, DDS of e.s.i. Healthy Dentistry
It may be surprising for you to discover that about 180 million Americans are missing at least one tooth and the overwhelming majority have many missing teeth. More than 35 million of us have lost all their teeth and 10% of them cannot wear dentures and must go around completely toothless. Tooth loss is so common that you, the reader, may be missing at least one tooth yourself!
Missing a front tooth may be emotionally devastating, but missing even one back tooth creates silent havoc on your health. As the number of missing teeth increase, so do diseases and risk of death. Here are just a few of the recent scientific findings: Tooth loss increases your risk of stroke and heart attack, both deadly as well as debilitating diseases. Tooth loss also increases your risk of rheumatoid arthritis, a painful and crippling disease. If you are missing 5 or more teeth your chance of pancreatic cancer (survival 5%) increases by 20%! Did you know that people without teeth live 10 years less than those with teeth? Oh, and it also makes you fatter!
The reason for these associations, are both obvious and yet undiscovered. If you think about it, digestion begins in the mouth.
It is no surprise then, that improperly chewed food has a devastating and far- reaching impact on our health. Food that is not properly chewed may not be fully processed resulting in half-chewed food and robbing your body of vital nutrition. The digestive tract constantly works overtime trying to digest unnaturally large chunks of un-chewed food. Poor nutrition combined with increased stress on the body leads to diseases, suffering, misery and early death. This is not an opinion; this is according to the latest peer reviewed research.
In view of this information, it seems obvious that preserving your natural teeth for your entire life should be one of our life pursuits – along the lines of eating healthy, exercising, and being happy. Sadly, the odds are against us. Today our teeth have to survive longer that any time in human history simply because we are living longer. This trend will continue, especially within the health-conscious community, like the readers of this article. The 1800’s techniques, still taught as the standard of care in all American dental schools, worked when you died in your 30’s or 40’s. They may not be the best choice for people living well past their hundreds!
In the future, modern dentists will be able to repair teeth with natural tooth parts and organically grown teeth.
The concept of biomimetic, or Nature Shaped Dentistry is a synthetic reconstruction of the natural tooth. By focusing on preserving as much of the natural tooth as possible and mimicking the physics, form, function and color of the patient’s tooth, a remarkably close approximation of the natural tooth is possible today. That means no more drilling teeth to nubs or stumps or using metal fillings that crack and break teeth.