Sex, Food and Dentures
The link between sex and dentures is an interesting one. When we think about the most important pleasures in life, we tend to rank sex first, followed closely by food. Food is such a staple in our everyday life: from our morning breakfast to snacks and lunch, followed by the anticipation that comes with getting home and enjoying a delicious meal with family and friends. We create events, rituals and celebrations around food. Food is vital to us all, regardless of its various forms and diets. It is easier to alter a smoking habit than an eating habit—that’s how ingrained our eating patterns are. Food is one of the most pleasurable and comforting things in our lives, ranking very close to sex. However, many believe that sex trumps it all (a sentiment that varies with age). Moreover, engaging in sexual acts, much like eating food, is a very primal behaviour and is often driven by hormones and emotion.
That being said, what is the connection to dentures? Well, if you ask someone who has all their teeth not to eat certain foods, they would be very disappointed by that reality: it would hinder their well-being and they would crave the foods they can’t eat. This is precisely the feeling that people with dentures get accustomed to. Bite into an apple? Not anymore. Savour a flavourful steak? Maybe, but with great difficulty. As we get older and sex becomes a less significant part of our lives, our oral health also starts to deteriorate, and we end up asking ourselves, “What are we living for? What pleasures are still available to us?”
It is no wonder that I have patients in their 90s coming to see me for dental implants. Often, they can no longer partake in the many pleasures they have grown accustomed to, and all that they long for is to eat comfortably—savouring every bite—later on in life. Although I often wonder why these patients waited so long to get this necessary procedure done, I can understand that it would not have been a priority for many of them. Luckily, with dental implants, patients can reclaim control over what they eat and how they eat it: they regain their ability to bite into an apple or to chew steak, just like they used to do with their natural teeth. At this stage in life, a new set of dental implants can take precedence over many desires, such as sexual activity, because it brings back so many pleasures tied to food. In sum, not having to worry about what foods one can or cannot eat can significantly increase one’s happiness and sense of well-being.