Chewing Problems: Causes and Treatment

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Dr Sarah Edwards MDhttp://ArticleWatt.com
PROFESSIONAL HIGHLIGHTS. She has been trained in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Disease, Critical Care Medicine, and Anxiety Medicine. In addition, she was also trained in Thoracic Transplantation Medicine and Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. CERTIFICATIONS Dr. Sarah Edwards is Board Certified in the following: • Internal Medicine • Child Diseases • Critical Medicine • She is also a Diplomate of The American Board of Anxiety Medicine. EDUCATION Postgraduate: • University of Nevada School of Medicine • Residency: Internal Medicine

Tooth decay, gum disease, or a missing tooth can all be the culprit behind your chewing problems. Regardless of the cause, difficulties with chewing and eating can be a real hassle.

Luckily, there are many ways to both identify the culprit and solve the problem. But, your priority should be to act now. The sooner you tackle your tooth troubles, the better.

Causes of Chewing Problems

So, what are the possible causes of chewing problems? Well, many things can be responsible for it, and it is often difficult pinpointing the exact cause. The most common ones include:

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is one of the most common causes of chewing difficulties. It can cause your mouth to become sore and swollen, resulting in sensitivity and pain.

This can often be accompanied by bad breath and an unpleasant taste in your mouth. If you suspect tooth decay, you should visit your dentist as soon as possible. Once your tooth problem is resolved, you can chew normally again.

Gum Disease

Gum disease, also known as Periodontitis, is another frequent cause of chewing issues. Periodontitis can cause damage to your soft tissues and can become dangerous if not treated appropriately.

It leaves your gums swollen, tender, and prone to bleeding, which can make chewing difficult and painful.

Missing Teeth

A missing tooth can often be the reason behind chewing troubles. It can make chewing feel uncomfortable and difficult. However, this is fixable and can be easily dealt with by getting a dental bridge.

Reduced Saliva

Reduced saliva levels can often become a problem as people start to age. Actually, about a quarter of all elderly people experience oral dryness. This lack of saliva in your mouth can lead to all sorts of difficulties.

Medication

A dry mouth can be a side effect of many of the usual over-the-counter drugs. Medication used to treat high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and so on can be the cause of oral dryness, which, in turn, leads to chewing issues.

Chewing Disorders

Your chewing problems can, in some cases, be the product of a disorder. Disorders related to the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ for short) are known to cause difficulty chewing.

You may experience tenderness or pain in your mouth or face. Opening and closing your mouth may also feel difficult. These disorders can be treated both medically and surgically, depending on the intensity.

Oral Cancer

While cancer isn’t as likely as all the other options, it’s still best to consider all the possibilities. Aside from oral cancer itself, cancer treatments can also cause lots of problems with the jaw.

Chemotherapy is known to influence nerve damage, for example, and can also have a part in causing mouth infections. Radiation therapy, as well as pain medications, are also known to affect your oral health.

Stroke

Among other things, a stroke can affect your ability to chew and swallow. The majority of stroke patients experience a swallowing disorder known as Dysphagia. However, within a few weeks after the stroke, most people should be able to chew and swallow their food normally.

Dentures

Poorly fitting dentures can also be the reason you’re experiencing issues with chewing. Dentures that aren’t sitting properly can make chewing uncomfortable or even painful.

How to Manage Chewing Problems

So, as we’ve gathered, chewing difficulties can be a real nightmare. But, what can you do to relieve and manage them? Here are some things you can do regarding your chewing conundrum.

Foods to Eat

Even though your chewing abilities are impaired, you should still try to maintain a healthy and balanced diet. So, let’s go over what you should eat if you’re struggling with chewing.

To keep your diet healthy, you should make sure you still stick with fruits and vegetables. Vegetables should be steamed, roasted, or grilled to make chewing easier. Soft vegetables like sweet potatoes or spinach are especially good. Fruits should also be soft. So, you can opt for naturally sweet fruits like bananas or pears. Or, you can eat apple sauce and similar dishes.

Grain products like soft bread, pasta, or oatmeal are also a great choice. Dairy products are also good since they’re easy to chew and swallow.

When it comes to meat, mashed and minced meat are the best options. It’s also highly recommended to cut your food into small pieces before eating it. That way, you’ll reduce chewing time and spare yourself some of the pain and discomfort.

Make Sure Your Mouth Is Moist

Swallowing and chewing may be easier if your mouth is moist. That’s why we suggest swabbing your mouth with an oral swab or simply brushing your teeth. Doing this before a meal will help your mouth stay moisturized. You should also make sure to have a drink close by whenever you’re eating something.

Chew on the Other Side

If you’re struggling with a bad tooth, or if you’re missing one, make sure to avoid chewing on that side. Make sure to chew on the opposite side or avoid chewy foods entirely. And promptly contact your dentist.

Dental Treatments

While chewing problems can be temporary, they often need extensive dental care to fix.

Dentures

If you find that you are missing a large number of your teeth, you may want to opt for dentures. Depending on your needs, you can choose between full or partial dentures.

Dental Bridge

If you’re missing a tooth or a few, you can get a dental bridge. A dental bridge contains a single block of dental material. It functions as an actual bridge by having the crowns connect the prosthetic teeth located between them. This bridge serves not only to restore your chewing functions but also to make your smile aesthetically pleasing.

Dental Implants

Implants are the perfect way to replace your missing tooth. They replace the crown of the tooth, as well as the root. But, dental implants are not only viable for replacing one tooth. They can also be used to replace an entire dental arcade.

Gum Treatment

Gum treatment is recommended if the source of your chewing problem is gum disease. Treatment can differ depending on the severity. However, if you address your problem on time, you’ll only need a deep dental cleaning.

 

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