Chewing food is a very important part of eating food and digesting it well. As parents we are constantly asking our children to chew more and chew well before they swallow their food. But how many times should food be chewed? Can we put a number on it?
In this video Dr Krishnaraj tells us how many times food needs to be chewed
Dr Krishnaraj Ganeshnarayan is a renowned periodontist with the highest qualifications in dentistry that anyone can possibly have. He is BDS, MDS and also has a Ph.D from the Rutgers University USA.
Dr Krishnaraj is a Consultant Periodntist at Delta Dental Care which is owned and managed by his wife Dr Arundati Krishnaraj. He is also professor at a reputed dental college and has worked extensively to bring about quality assurance in dental practice for NABH.
Dr Krishnaraj enjoys making complicated things in the dental sciences – simple and easy to understand and apply for his patients
In this article he tells us how to choose the best toothpaste for a child.
Over to Dr Krishnaraj
“Chew your food.” “Chew – chew – before you swallow”
These are instructions that parents are always giving their children.
But how many times should food actually be chewed? Is once or twice enough? Or should each bite be chewed 32 times?
So the magic number is actually 18.
Why 18 times?
Because by the time the food is chewed 18 times –
1. The teeth manage to grind the food and turn it into a paste
2. An enzyme in the saliva mixes sufficiently into the food and digests the food to a large extent
Chewing 18 times is especially important for children because
(a) they have a weak underdeveloped digestive system and
(b) they are typically fed high fat food that is difficult to digest
(c) They lack the enzyme amylase in the liver which digests fats in adults. So the only way they can digest the fats in their food is by allowing sufficient time for contact between the salivary lipase and the fat in the food while chewing.
The more the kid chews the food, the more the salivary lipase acts on the food and digests it
Chewing the food 18 times allows adequate grinding of food and also enough coating of the saliva on the food to help in fat digestion
If the child gulps down the food or if we don’t give the child enough time to chew, the food actually may become useless and the fat will not get absorbed.
So remember, encourage children to chew 18 times before they swallow
So – we now have a number to go by. How many times should food be chewed? The answer is 18 times.
But take care of your teeth with the right toothpaste and the right toothbrush
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