The Link Between Posture and Oral Health
Ever catch yourself slouching at school or work? Not sitting up straight not only is bad for our back alignment, but it is also known to affect our oral health.
Good Posture in general is “seen when the head is supported by the vertebral column which in turn is supported by the pelvis, legs, and feet.” In terms of bad posture, however, our heads are constantly being tilted forward, throwing off our “natural center of gravity” leading to a constant stress on the muscles “of the neck, shoulder, and lower back.”
Because of this there is said to be a direct link between our head posture and bite, teeth contact, and, ultimately, jaw pain.
It is said that the “maintenance of head posture depends on the interaction between gravity and the balance of the muscles that stabilize the head.” Our teeth are the ones that generally give us the stability of keeping our head posture on track, so if it is all thrown off, our bite will be affected the greatest. Most of the “compensations that occur are at the TMJ joints, the vertebrae, or surrounding tissues.” TMJ (temporomandibular joint) dysfunctions most often occur when we “alter our head and neck posture.” If altered, our muscle functions will decrease causing possible “cervical spine disorders.” If we do not learn to fix these problems, however, they will continue to occur, causing even more issues later on in life.
How does one go about changing a habit that they do not even realize they are doing most of the time? First off, if you are experiencing head, neck, or jaw pain, contact your dentist to see if it is linked to how you’re holding your body up on a daily basis. After assessing your posture, you will be treated accordingly and shown correct ways to fix your posture. Also, a “dental splint” could be issued for “postural and muscle abnormalities” that are causing your individual pain. This, hopefully, will reduce the amount of pain the individual is facing and, also, help to ensure that future issues do not arise.
When one thinks of incorrect posture the first thing that comes to mind is not how it is going to affect their oral health – but, in fact, if someone’s posture is unbalanced, it can create much pain and inflammation. It can even be known to “rearrange the position of teeth and facial muscles.” No one wants to experience these damages to their mouth, teeth, and smile, so contact your dentist immediately if you are experiencing any symptoms such as these and he/she will put you on the right path to a pain free, perfect posture life!