When most people think about their oral health, brushing, flossing and mouthwash come to mind. And while these tasks are essential to a healthy mouth, there may be one habit that could be affecting your jaws and it might surprise you. Poor posture has been linked to a number of serious dental health issues, which is why it’s important to understand how they are closely intertwined.
The hinge of the jaw is often seen as one of the most complex joints in the body. Not only does it attach to the cranium, teeth, nerve bundles, muscles and other forms of tissue, it also performs complex movements including ligaments, discs and bones working together to stretch the jaw, clench the teeth, pull the jaw backwards and even moving it side-to-side. The position of the jaw affects the position of the head, which will affect the shape of the spine.
For those who slouch, the lower half of the jaw is pushed forward in an unnatural manner, causing the skull to move backwards and compress the spine. This affects almost every part of the body from shoulders to the pelvis.
As time goes on, these few problems could turn into major medical problems. For those with chronic bad posture, the most common issues include shortening of the jaw muscles, inflammation around the jaws and a misaligned bite.
Often referred to as TMJ, temporomandibular joint disorder is a relatively common medical condition in which there is a problem with the upper and lower jaw working together.
Some of the most common side effects include:
- Chronic headaches;
- A clicking sound when opening the jaw;
- Pain when yawning;
- Tenderness of the jaw and face;
- A change in the way teeth fit together with one another.
Because the postural position of the head, neck and shoulders is so closely related to the bite, both dental therapy and physical therapy may be needed to correct the bite and relieve pain in the head, neck and back.
Poor postural habits become harder to correct the longer they exist, and they also become more harmful to your body. If you have any of the symptoms described, make an appointment today so we can determine whether or not dental treatment can provide relief.
Whether you’re going on a short walk or sitting behind the desk for hours, keeping your core tight and your shoulders located above the hips and ears directly above their shoulders can go a long ways towards great oral health.