Chewing and Your Overall Health

Your teeth are the very beginning of your digestive system.  Teeth function to cut, tear and grind food into smaller pieces before it undergoes the chemical digestive process.  When teeth are missing or loose, one may experience consequences beyond just having a difficult time eating.

Not chewing food properly may cause GERD-Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.  GERD is a condition in which food or liquids from the stomach leak backward and cause irritation in the esophagus.  This is a condition is also known as heartburn.

Also larger food particles are much harder for the intestines to digest.  The intestines cannot efficiently absorb vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from the larger food particles.  If food cannot be properly digested one may experience a variety of adverse effects.  Also food particles may enter into your blood.

Larger food particles also cause an increase in bacteria in the colon.   Symptoms may include gas and bloating, diarrhea or constipation, abdominal pain and cramping.

Proper chewing also promotes the release of saliva. Saliva helps chemically breakdown food prior to it entering the stomach.  The saliva also contains an enzyme (lysozyme) which is useful at destroying food-borne pathogens that can cause serious illness and even death. The more you chew, the more you expose food to the anti-bacterial enzyme.  If you’re not able to chew properly, and do not release an adequate quantity of saliva, you are more likely to experience food poisoning.