Bite-sized facts about chewing

girl chewing foodYou might take chewing for granted, but it’s essential for breaking down and digesting food. Chew over these fast facts:

  • There's no set number of times you need to chew food before swallowing. But some foods do require more chewing, including meat and some vegetables.
  • Aging affects chewing. Tooth loss or wearing dentures can make it harder to chew, which can lead to poor nutrition.
  • You can remedy – or prevent – chewing problems. Get regular dental checkups to keep your teeth and jaw healthy. If you wear dentures, make sure they fit well.
  • Chopping, grinding or pureeing meats and cooking fruits and vegetables can make them easier to chew. Sip water to keep your mouth moist, and talk to your doctor if you have chronic dry mouth.
  • Chewing well may help you lose weight. A recent study suggests that women who chewed food more thoroughly ate fewer calories and felt fuller than when they ate faster.

Want to avoid the munchies? Try chewing gum—the Mayo Clinic says it burns 11 calories an hour!