By Dr. Nilo A. Hernandez Jr., DDS., DICOI
Fuel in the body is an interesting topic. For one, we enjoy eating. We also assume that we must eat, and we are right for the most part. Food is fuel. What we put into our bodies is very important.
Our mouths are full of taste buds (glands), and they detect the tastes that we like and dislike. As humans, we want more of what we like. That is true for everything we do. Taste buds act as a warning system. They alert us to the flavor profile, the intensity of the spices or flavor, and whether we feel the food needs a little something extra or not. As we age, these taste buds will lose some of their intrinsic function as in the body does that same. Older folks will enjoy a meal that is less tasteful than a younger person.
How do our teeth come into this picture, and what role do they play in the taste of foods? I am asked this by many patients when we are discussing replacing their missing of failed teeth. We must assess our teeth and function similarly to an architect designing a structure. One would not build a single-family home the same way one would build a multi-floor commercial building. The same holds true for the mouth. As a dentist, one of the most challenging situations we encounter is achieving the patient’s expectations. Most of the times, these expectations are reasonable and can be met. The unreasonable ones are truly the tricky ones. For we are blessed when we can spot that one from afar and NOT take it on. But we shall leave this one for another topic, as it will be a long one.
People lose their teeth for several reasons. The leader, in those reasons, is neglect. Why? Neglect of teeth is many times misrepresented because teeth usually do not hurt until it is too late. By the time a tooth begins to hurt, it is usually affecting the nerve and or the tooth structure is unable to be fixed properly. This is where we try to save teeth beyond the reasonable expectation that it will last. Patients many times, want to save their teeth when they realize that losing them changes everything.
Imagine for a moment what your life would be like if you could not chew your foods, smile with confidence, or even if you could not speak properly and pronounce your words. What would you feel like? Every day as a dentist, I am challenged to find these solutions for everyday people just like you. All the while trying to accomplish what they have as chewing goals.
Chewing, here is a unique word. Not everyone eats the same or chews the same. Some prefer raw vegetables; some prefer meats, and some prefer pizza. All these types of foods require a slight variance to how we design these teeth. I prefer you eat healthy nutritious foods on a regular basis, but it is ultimately up to you. Your dentist is the architect of your new mouth. So, treat me gently as I do hold a very key role in your life satisfaction when it comes to chewing and enjoying your foods of choice.
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