Many times, people often believe in interesting assumptions about the body and how it works. Many people often don’t think about the connections between one section and another. As medical doctors and dentists, our goals when diagnosing and treating conditions come from the foreknowledge that if one area of the body suffers, it can inadvertently cause other health conditions to occur. Some research has suggested that poor oral health can impact a person’s back posture for those with imperfect teeth and jaw alignments. While surprising at first, we’re here to look deeper into this correlation and find out why malocclusion and posture are connected.
What We Know About The Link
Ongoing research, such as studies found through the Medical Science Monitor, discusses this relationship in greater detail in its ties to back posture. When attempting to understand this connection, here’s what many medical professionals know about the head, the jawline, and its position along the spine:
- A person’s head often weighs between 8 to 10lbs. This weight sits along the topmost cervical vertebrae, and carrying this weight is a critical part of our posture.
- Our bodies often carry and resist pressure resulting from the strain of movement. Our neck muscles often help support the head and jawbone—some muscles, such as those found in the temporomandibular joint, helps us swallow.
- While many studies haven’t determined the association between malocclusion, body posture, and breathing patterns, there’s been research showing an increase in that link overtime.
Most importantly, our jaw muscles help provide balance to the head. While much of the details surrounding how the jaw muscles impact the head are complex, the TMJ, neck muscles, throat, and teeth are critical parts of maintaining the head’s natural position. Keeping the head upright takes more than just the head and neck. However, the back, which includes the thoracic and lumbar areas of the back, can also impact how the head is supported. But how does posture directly relate to teeth? Orthodontists understand that having poor jaw alignment can greatly lead to worse oral health problems overtime, but does poor jaw alignment and muscle strength affect the back as well?
How Bad Teeth Can Impact Posture
A person with a malocclusion, such as an overbite, underbite, or crossbite, will often experience some form of misalignment throughout the jaw that causes pain. Misaligned teeth can also contribute to jaw pain due to the impact the roots have on the jawline. With both of these factors, many who have poor oral health will often experience more pressure along the jawline, which can inadvertently place more pressure along the neck and create bad posture along the spine. The curvature of the spine, the jawline’s position, and the health of our teeth are all interconnected, but the exact details of how they’re connected are still being explored.
Having unhealthy teeth can greatly impact your alignment, but keeping your teeth in check through good oral habits, regular visits to the dentist, and keeping your posture in healthy shape can help prevent this alignment problem from occurring in the future. Orthodontists are specifically trained to correct bite alignments and help patients recover from drastic malocclusion and other dental problems that affect them each day through treatments such as braces, aligners, and regular checkups. If you’re concerned about this issue, please speak with your doctors and dentists about these concerns, and we’ll be glad to help.