Favouring one side of your mouth when you chew your food probably isn't something you even think about, let alone something you imagine could cause any damage to your teeth and jaw. Unfortunately, a tendency to chew on one side and not the other should be avoided; it just isn't the way your mouth was made to be used.
Here are just four reasons you might want to give the practice a miss next time you're digging into a meal.
1. It Wears Your Teeth Down Unevenly
The enamel that forms the protective outer surface of your teeth is the hardest substance in your entire body, but it can still be worn down. In fact, your teeth are slightly worn down as you use them. This won't be perceptible, but chewing only on one side, particularly since this is a behaviour associated with chewing tougher foods, can cause uneven wear.
2. It Places More Pressure on One Side of the Jaw
Your jaw is supposed to take enormous amount of pressure; it's how you're able to tear apart even the toughest of steaks without a worry. The problem is that the jaw was designed to take that pressure evenly across both sides. When you chew only on one side of your mouth, you'll be putting far more pressure on one side of the jaw, and that's going to put uneven pressure on one of the joints that connects your jaw to your skull. Over time, this can cause serious problems, including Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMD) and an inability to form a proper bite.
3. Only One Side Will Be Cleaned
People generally associate chewing food with damage to the teeth; after all, it is interaction with foods and most drinks that can cause decay. However, chewing is also beneficial for healthy teeth and gums. When you chew food, saliva is produced to provide moisture and help to break the food down, but this isn't all that saliva does. It also contains compounds that help to naturally fight the bacteria that causes decay; it's your body's own inbuilt defence. If you only chew on one side of your mouth, only that one side will be properly cleaned.
4. It Can Indicate Underlying Problems
Finally, remember to keep in mind that chewing on one side can indicate an underlying problem. You might be experiencing pain or sensitivity from a certain tooth and have started favouring one side of the mouth because of this. In any case, you'll want to see a dentist in your area instead of continuing with the habit.
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