We all need to eat, and so we all have to chew. Chewing comes naturally, but its importance is often overlooked. If we don’t chew our food, we are at risk for choking, but there are other compelling reasons to be mindful of your mastication habits. Your Reno dentists explain some of the reasons you should think about what you chew, and how long you chew.
Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
Taking bites of food that are too big for your mouth can actually damage your jaw. This advice is particularly timely in a culture that has offered food in increasingly larger portions over the years. Hamburgers, sandwiches, and burritos, for example, are sometimes so large that they require the eater to open their mouth wider than is healthy for them. People who suffer from TMD are at particular risk, since their jaw joints are already sensitive. If an item of food forces you to open your mouth so wide that it causes discomfort, it is best to cut the food in smaller bites before eating.
The amount of food you put in your mouth is as important as the size of the original bite taken. Shoving so much in your mouths that you look like a chipmunk getting ready for winter will also put your jaw at risk for injury.
Chewing More to Eat Less
Typically people don’t chew their food enough before swallowing. We may be eating on the run, or so hungry from waiting too long to eat, that we rush through the entire process. After a while, eating too quickly can become a bad habit.
A study from Harbin Medical University in China uncovered a link between the amount of chewing we do, and the levels of certain hormones in our blood. Ghrelin, an appetite stimulating hormone, was found in lower levels when food was chewed at least 40 times per bite. Conversely, an appetite regulating hormone called CCK was detected in higher levels with more chewing. In conjunction, these two hormones can aid in maintaining a healthy weight.
Wager Evans Dental offers comprehensive dentistry for the entire family. To make an appointment with Dr. Wager or Dr. Evans, call today at 775-829-7700. Our Reno dentist office is happy to serve patients in and around the 89502 area.