General Dental Informtion

Unilateral Chewing Food

unilateral chewing food

Do you chew gum on one side? What about food? One-sided mastication is not good for your teeth or temporomandibular joint at all, and one should not get used to one-sided mastication even after losing the teeth on one side.
One-sided mastication damages your temporomandibular joint. The mandibular joint is the only movable joint between the head and face, and is incidentally a very busy joint that opens and closes the mouth. This joint is located between the mandible and the skull and is used every time one talks, eats or opens their mouth, so take good care of this important joint in your body. Habits such as bruxism, grinding teeth due to stress and anxiety, and one-sided mastication put a lot of pressure on this joint and may cause long-term joint, head, and neck muscle pain.

side effects of unilateral chewing food

Side Effects of unilateral chewing food

One-sided mastication damages the teeth and gums on one side. In case of losing one or multiple teeth on one side of the mouth, the patient either uses that side of the jaw less frequently or does not use it at all. Not using one side of the jaw prevents the teeth from being cleaned, and leads to plaque formation. Since eating is helpful for cleaning teeth and maintaining gum health, one-sided eating increases gum pain in addition to making the person susceptible to tooth decay.

The one-sided mastication habit changes the occlusal surface, which may cause asymmetric occlusion in severe cases, affecting the shape and appearance of the person as well.

One-sided mastication creates germs on the opposing teeth and gum disease and may also cause gingival recession. If you have a habit of one-sided mastication, you are effectively not using a part of your mouth. This causes germ formation, gingival recession, and long-term gum disease. The teeth and their socket tissues should remain healthy and alive, otherwise the tooth socket tissues recede.

One-sided mastication is also harmful for dentures. Chew on both sides if you have a denture in your mouth, because one-sided mastication will cause misalignment and destabilization.

Frequently Asked Questions about Chewing on One Side

1-Does chewing on one side cause facial asymmetry?

Jaw joints known as TMJ are a focal point for all of the jaw movements such as talking and chewing food. For example, if you habitually chew food on one side, the teeth that are used more on that side wear down more than the ones on the other side due to overuse and increased function. This results in tooth wear and deviation to one side leading to facial asymmetry.

2-Does chewing on one side cause problems?

It is generally accepted that chewing on one side has potential damaging effect on temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Habitual chewing side syndrome often causes plaque accumulation on the other side which leads to tooth decay and gum and periodontal diseases.

3-Is chewing on one side common?

Chewing on one side is natural but not exclusive. You have to chew intermittently so that you use both sides of jaw muscle in order for them to be similar in size and strength.

4-What are the harmful effects of chewing on one side?

Both right and left temporomandibular joints (TMJ) guide and support lower jaw while chewing. Studies have shown that while chewing on one side, TMJ on the opposite side where the food is not chewed receives the most of the stress. Therefore, when food is chewed only on the right side, TMJ on the left side is under the most stress and vice versa.

Dr Abdolreza Jamilian Orthodontist
About Dr Abdolreza Jamilian Orthodontist

Dr. Jamilian, an orthodontist, has a specialized fellowship in orthodontic surgery and maxillofacial abnormalities and is a full-time professor in the orthodontics department of the Dentistry School of the Islamic Azad University. He is member of Iranian and European Board of Orthodontics (EBO) and is a member of the Iranian, American and European Orthodontists Association.

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