The Relationship between Posture and Dental Health
Slouching and not maintaining a proper posture can have several bad effects on your mind and body. Did you know that it can also affect your dental health?
In basic anatomy, we learned that the foot bone is connected to the leg bone and this elementary fact is the simplest explanation as to why our posture might affect our oral health. Ideally, your head, neck, and spine must be always aligned. When you slouch, your head is in a forward position and your shoulders follow. When this happens, the jaws move backwards, and this is what causes some problems in the teeth.
Doing this constantly may cause your bite to fall out of place which can lead to a misaligned jaw. Some people even get the dreaded TMJ disorder along with migraines and other discomfort. TMJ is temporomandibular joint.
What is Good Posture?
Aside from your neck, head, and spine being aligned, what exactly is good posture? A person has good posture if their head is supported by the vertebral column. The back must then be supported by the pelvis which should be supported by the legs and feet.
When good posture is not maintained, the head is constantly tilted forward which throws off a person’s natural center of gravity. This causes stress on the muscles of the neck and the back area of the body. Bad posture has been linked to bite problems as well as jaw pain.
Maintaining a good posture depends on the interaction between gravity and how your muscles are balanced in order to support your head. Your teeth are great indicators on whether your balance is on track so if your balance is thrown off, it will eventually affect your bite.
Most of the complications occur around the joints of the jaw, the vertebrae, and its surrounding tissues. They happen when you alter your neck and head posture because having bad posture decreases muscle functions. It may even cause some spine disorders and several other issues as you grow older.
Symptoms of Oral Health Issues Related to Bad Posture
Look out for these warning signs that may indicate that you are suffering from a bad bite which may be caused by bad posture.
You may experience:
- Pain in the neck or jaw
- Decaying teeth
- Pain while chewing
Detecting Bad Posture
Because we get so used to how we sit and stand, it is not always easy to realize that have a bad posture. There is a way to test if your posture is correct and it involves a couple of methods.
- The Mirror Test – One, you can stand in front of a full-length mirror and carefully observe yourself. Try to see if your shoulders are level as well as your hips. Your kneecaps should be facing front and your ankles should not bend in or out. You have a good posture if your shoulders and hips are in line, your knees are facing the mirror, and your ankles are straight.
- The Wall Test – Another way to test if you have good posture is by placing your back against a wall. Make sure your head and butt are flat then slide your heels apart. Take your hand and feel how far your lower back and neck are from the wall. They should only be an inch or two away.
Changing the Habit
If you can determine that you have not been maintaining a good posture which may be causing some dental health problems, you should correct the habit right away. If still unsure, it is best to see your dentist and they will test if your head, pain, or jaw pain is linked to how you hold your body.