Good mastication skills are required for optimal health. Mastication is the act of chewing, as in your food…the very beginning of digestion and an essential (seemingly lost) art.
Good mastication stimulates salivation. Saliva mixes with food and forms a bolus making the journey down the esophagus a slippery and smooth ride. Saliva also contains the enzyme amylase which begins to digest some carbohydrates right in your mouth.
Good mastication chops, grinds and minces your food. This helps to avoid choking while eating. Additionally, some foods contain hard shells (i.e. flax seed) that need to be penetrated before swallowing in order for the goodness inside to be released.
Good mastication creates a larger surface area of food which provides more bioavailable nutrients to your intestinal cells for absorption.
Good mastication tells the rest of the digestive system Get ready, there’s something coming down! The intestines begin peristalsis – a wave like movement by which chyme (masticated food + stomach acids) is moved along the long hollow digestive tube and waste is excreted out the other end. It keeps things movin’.
So how does one master the art of mastication? Eat slowly and enjoy your food. Eat to nurture your body rather than staving off hunger. Good, slow mastication will help keep you full. Eat still, not on the go.
And aesthetics is not the only downside to a mouth full of crooked or missing teeth. Quality mastication can also be compromised.