Why Jaw Alignment Affects Posture and Balance

Why Jaw Alignment Affects Posture and Balance

Posted by Dr. Alicia Abeyta DDS FAGD on Nov 14 2019, 11:29 AM

Why jaw alignment affects posture and balance negatively is easy to understand.  Remember the children’s song, “Dem Bones”.  Well, just like the song says, everything is connected.  When one part of the body is out of alignment, the whole body is affected.  The jaw is no exception.   

When your upper and lower teeth are clamped together, each tooth forms a tight fellowship with its opposing tooth. This bite determines the position of your jaw, and in turn, the position of your head on your spine.  A misaligned jaw can have a domino effect that alters the posture and sends the entire body out of balance.

Studies have also found that a misaligned jaw can increase muscle strain in the face, neck, head and shoulders.  The continual strain can cause a host of symptoms like backaches, ear ringing, headaches and vertigo.

Strained muscles have been linked to pinched nerves in the face and neck.  These nerves don’t operate separately from the nerves that run throughout the body. One pinched nerve in the jaw or face can cause numbness and tingling throughout the entire body which in turn impacts nerves that control the balance.

Another problem caused by a poorly aligned jaw is the alteration of the head’s posture.   By changing how the head is held, undue pressure is placed on the spine.  This strain impacts the entire posture and can lead to chronic pain, additional nerve impediment, increased muscle strain…there go those dominoes.

Two studies were conducted to look at the correlation between occlusion, how your teeth fit together, and balance.  Researchers in Australia and Spain held parallel experiments to answer the question. They looked at different malocclusions like crossbite, crowded teeth, gaps between teeth and missing teeth.  First, they demonstrated that these types of tooth problems were linked to poor stability. Then they showed that repositioning the jaw in a neutral position fixed the problem.

Researchers in these studies also discovered that when the jaw was out of position, it would negatively impact the trigeminal nerve, which controls chewing and the vestibular nerve, which controls balance.

A dentist, who understands TMJ, can offer treatment to correct the jaw so that the muscles, bones, and teeth can function without strain and tension.

If you live in or around Albuquerque, New Mexico and have questions about jaw alignment or TMJ, please call the The Best Albuquerque Dentist at 505-293-7611 or visit our contact page to fill out your information and take a virtual tour of our office.

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