The importance of mastication


Mastication is the process in which the food is cut down in the mouth and mixed with saliva to prepare it for swallowing, a process that helps in the secretion of saliva, which is an essential element in moistening the food and the mouth.

Mastication in the mouth is the first stage of the digestion process, and the main purpose of eating is to consume and absorb the nutrients our bodies need to stay healthy. Chewing food well helps support digestion. The physical process of chewing in the mouth helps break down large pieces of food into smaller pieces, which increases the surface area and makes it easier to break down nutrients for absorption.

The saliva secreted during the chewing process also contains digestive enzymes that are released when chewing and that aid digestion.
Functional indigestion is the medical term for a condition that causes upset, pain, discomfort, or discomfort in the stomach or upper abdomen.

People do not chew their food effectively for several reasons, including:
1- If they are in a hurry, eating “on the run”, will not allow enough time for food to be chewed and masticated, so, it will be swallowed in large pieces.
2- Eating while stressed, sometimes people eat while stressed and this is a bad idea. If you eat while feeling stressed, the part of our autonomic nervous system called the sympathetic nervous system — the “fight and flight” reaction — also reduces blood flow to the digestive tract, so nutrients are less likely to be absorbed and utilized.

3- Low surface area for mastication either due to missing teeth and/or unattached teeth reduce your ability to bite and chew effectively, leading to swallowing large parts of food.
4- Mouth breathing: The nose is intended for breathing, but if you suffer from problems in the nose, this will lead to breathing through the mouth, which leads to permanent dryness in the mouth and lack of saliva production in normal quantities, and this may lead to a “problem” when eating. In addition, it is socially unacceptable to eat with your mouth open; it may seem inappropriate totally. You should take 8-12 breaths per minute through your nose, and this is not only good for your overall health, but also allows you to chew food slowly.

Through the research conducted, big correlations were found between the function of chewing in the elderly and the presence of many health diseases, such as malnutrition and weight loss due to difficulty chewing food.

Generally, to properly chew, it is recommended to have at least 20 teeth that have occlusion with each other. This includes at least four pairs of molars that can help in chewing on difficult food items, and the rest are anterior teeth to help in incising the food. When you have missing teeth, you are not able to chew your food properly, and you are bound to swallow bigger pieces than you should swallow. When that happens, it will cause difficulty to swallow the food, and the digestive system will suffer from this.

Finally, we are concluding with the following recommendations: Take care of good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day and floss daily to remove dental plaque and replace your missed teeth with dental implants.

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