Can bad posture affect oral health and how can it be treated

There are several reasons why your posture could have a negative impact on your dental health. Here’s all that you need to know

Posture refers to the way an individual holds the alignment of the spine in the body with other adjoining body parts such as the head, shoulders and hips. For a healthy mind and body, doctors advise people to maintain a good posture.

It is referred to as a state of having a neutral spine in which muscle groups, joints and ligaments are aligned in a manner that decreases stress on them, keeps the body flexible and reduces fatigue.

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Work from home has increased risks of health issues related to bad posture. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Most people are aware that they should maintain a proper posture but a sedentary lifestyle, looking down at a smartphone for long hours or lounging on a couch makes it impossible to follow this advice for an extended period.

However, what people don’t realize is that hunching our backs can cause significant side effects. Bad posture is not just unattractive but it also affects the rest of our health. Rounded backs and shoulders create problems in our spinal cord and muscles. It is a well-known fact that having a bad posture impacts our back and neck conditions, but these aren’t the only issues one must be concerned about.

The link between bad posture and dental health

Most people today are not unaware of the fact that there is a link between bad posture and dental issues. Our teeth are a part of our skeleton, and this means that the incorrect jaw alignment may lead to more complications such as:

  • Numbing or tingling sensation in the hands
  • Pain in the jaw, head, neck, shoulders and back
  • Problems in the cervical and spinal areas
  • Headaches
  • Throwing the body’s center of gravity off

Also Read: Is your tongue posture responsible for your neck and shoulder stiffness? Let’s find out

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You must understand the effects of bad posture on your oral health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

That is not all, poor posture can also cause temporomandibular joint syndrome, which is also known as TMJ disorder. A poor posture misaligns the spine, which in some cases, may lead to an improper bite pattern. A misaligned spine can further affect your temporomandibular joints – the two joints (both sides of the jaw) that connect the jawbone to the temporal bones of our skull.

The temporomandibular joints in our body function in a manner similar to a hinge. These delicately balanced joints help in the opening and closing of the mouth. A poor posture can impact how these joints function. If these are misaligned, they can cause problems for people. In some cases, the misalignment of these joints can cause issues such as jaw lock, cramp or in extreme cases a patient may even go into spasms resulting in jaw pain and difficulty in chewing. It is therefore advised to have a good neck and shoulder posture, and not a forward head posture for better oral health.

Curing bad posture

Prevention is always considered to be better than cure, but even if a person is already suffering from bad posture, there is no need to panic. Fortunately, it is possible to fix bad it and improper jaw alignment — the key lies in diagnosing it quickly and accurately. For that, it is imperative to visit a dentist on a regular basis. The longer improper posture or dental misalignment is left undiagnosed or ignored, the more it affects overall health.

In some cases, it is recommended to visit a physical therapist as well. The therapist will customize a program of exercises and stretches that will help in improving core muscle strength, flexibility, spinal alignment and eventually a misaligned jaw.

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You may also experience headache as a result of bad posture. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

To better experience this phenomenon, all you need to do is to first sit hunched and close your jaw; and then sit leaning backwards and repeat the above activity. While leaning forward, you will notice your frontal teeth of the upper and lower set touching, prior to the posterior ones and vice versa for leaning backwards. This proves that your posture affects your bite alignment.

You must visit the dentist and get a 3D scan done to meticulously diagnose the cause for the problem, since there can be more than one reason for your bite misalignment.

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