How Your Bite Can Impact Your Posture and Overall Health
By Maryam Motlagh D.M.D on November 15, 2016
When alignment issues are present, meaning the upper and lower teeth are not in the proper position, overall health can suffer. Alignment issues, or a “bad bite,” can leave patients with chronic headaches, insomnia, issues with head and neck alignment, and problems with posture. Restorative dentistry treatments can help correct alignment issues, providing oral and overall physical relief. To learn more about how your bite impacts posture and head and neck alignment, schedule a consultation with Portland, OR dentist Maryam Motlagh.
What Are Some Common Bite Issues?
Bite issues occur when the upper and lower teeth do not come together in the proper position. The teeth or bite may be misaligned for many reasons, such as:
- Crooked teeth
- Over or under bite
- Poorly fitting dental bridges or crowns
- Chipped or broken teeth
- Missing teeth
How Does Bite Impact Posture and Overall Health?
Although bite issues begin with the mouth, they can impact overall health. This is because misaligned teeth cause the jaw joint to also become misaligned. When the teeth are misaligned, the jaw joint and surrounding muscles must work harder to adjust for bite issues. Over time, this can increase stress and strain on the jaw joint and surrounding muscles, sometimes resulting in a chain reaction throughout the body, impacting posture and causing lower back pain.
Poor posture is of particular concern because it can inhibit blood circulation, which is necessary for spreading nutrients and oxygen to the cells and increasing the risk of inflammation and pain. Poor posture can also inhibit the movement of nerve signals throughout the body.
Health Issues Caused by Bite Problems
A bad bite can lead to a wide range of health issues. A misaligned bite can cause patients to suffer from constant dull headaches, dizziness, insomnia, ear aches, neck pain, difficulty chewing, and issues with head and neck alignment.
Bite issues can cause a jaw problem called temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD, to develop or become more severe. TMD is a condition in which the jaw joint does not move properly. Some common symptoms include a clicking or popping when opening or closing the mouth, difficulty chewing, jaw joint pain, and neck pain. For some, pain may radiate from jaw to the neck and shoulders. Others may experience earaches or constant, dull headaches.
Teeth clenching or grinding while sleeping can cause TMD symptoms to become worse and impact bite alignment. Teeth clenching and grinding cause prolonged tension and strain on the muscles supporting the jaw. When these muscles become strained, it can lead to posture problems, including issues with head and neck alignment. As muscle pain affects posture, pain may radiate to the lower back muscles, which in turn can cause hip and leg joint pain.
Treating Bite Alignment Issues
Treating bite alignment issues can help alleviate health issues caused by a bad bite. A thorough dental examination is the first step to determining the proper treatment plan for any alignment issues. Treatments may include:
- Orthodontics for realigning the teeth
- TMD treatment
- Mouth guard for teeth grinding or clenching
- Dental bridge or crown adjustment
- Tooth replacement with dental implant treatment
Schedule a Consultation
For answers to your questions about how your bite can impact your posture and health, or to discover you treatment options, we welcome you to schedule a consultation.
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