Minneapolis, MN – You might recall a family member or other adult scolding, “Don’t slouch! Stand up straight!” And you may have had some orthodontic work done to help straighten your teeth.
These two seemingly unrelated topics are now being studied in tandem, and researchers have found something amazing: straight teeth and straight posture are related!
What’s the Relationship between Bite and Posture?
Dental occlusion is the term used to refer to how the upper and lower teeth contact each other when biting down. Malocclusion, or a “bad bite,” refers to an uneven alignment and can include overbites, underbites, and other misaligned types of bites.
The trigeminal nerve, originating in the brain, controls our chewing and biting functions and responds to our dental occlusion. The vestibular nuclei, a set of four nuclei in the medulla oblongata, are responsible for our balance control.
Since the trigeminal nerve and vestibular nuclei influence each other, as do the muscles in the neck and those used for chewing, there is a clear relationship between our bite and our body’s entire alignment.
Sound confusing? You’re not alone; this is a very new area of research. Initial studies are showing that if the jaw is placed in a neutral, aligned position, one’s balance can improve. However, these results are most pronounced with more movement, up to the point of fatigue.
What Does It All Mean?
Both of these new studies found that aligning your teeth can improve your balance and posture, and that a bad bite can have negative effects on the body’s alignment. These findings have tremendous implications for those seeking to improve these aspects of their life.
For example, athletes and dancers who rely on good balance can achieve even greater precision of movement if their teeth are well aligned. Those with balance or coordination issues –like the elderly or those with various disorders—can benefit greatly from having their bite corrected.
The studies showed that the effects were most pronounced when people were tired and balance was more likely to be off. Those who work long hours or have a physically demanding lifestyle can benefit from a straighter smile, as this can give them more control over their balance when they need it most.
Furthermore, better posture and balance can lead to fewer injuries. Whether you’re athletic or not, straightening your teeth is a great way to prevent other problems you may have previously thought unrelated.
Orthodontics: More Than Just Aesthetics
We’ve long known that malocclusion can result in other issues, like TMJ (temporomandibular joint) problems or headaches, but this new research is showing us yet another connection between oral and overall health.
Your a Minneapolis-area orthodontist notes, “While aligning your bite has always been a top priority at our practice simply for patient satisfaction, we’re currently seeing even more health benefits to an ideal smile. Now is a better time than ever to correct your teeth!”
If you’re interested in learning more about improving your health by aligning your smile, schedule a free consultation with an ORTHODONTIST today! You can also stop by our Minneapolis/St. Paul-area office or call us at 651-447-6768.
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