Your posture and bite might be more closely related than you think. If you experience frequent headaches and lower jaw pain, check two things: your posture and consult a TMJ dental specialist like Dr. Reese about the possibility of having temporomandibular jaw disorder (TMJ).
Good Posture Makes For Good Oral Health
Your bite affects your posture. In the same way, your posture can affect your bite and TMJ. It is all connected. An unbalanced jaw joint ultimately influences your spine, your bite, your airway, your muscles and your nerves. A “good - balanced” bite is achieved when the muscles of the face, jaw and neck are allowed to be at their most efficient state – a relaxed and restful state. This is ultimately achieved when one practices correct posture.
"Good posture is important, yet many people don't realize how posture affects their oral health," says Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) spokesperson Ludwig Leibsohn, DDS.
Let us explain how.
Bad Posture Can Cause TMJ Disorder
The temporomandibular joint is considered to be the most important joint in the body having 30-40% of all the body’s nerve impulses run though it. It also supports the head that is estimated to be between 15-30 pounds.
The body functions normally and properly when all of the joints, bones and muscles are properly aligned. This means one needs to practice good posture at all times. When one routinely slouches or is hunched over the computer for long periods of time, one is indirectly teaching the body to hold a bad posture until it becomes the body’s norm – this has a domino effect. When your back hunches, your neck and skull move forward, tilting their weight causing your lower jaw to protrude forward. This causes a bad bite – one of the leading causes of TMJ disorder.
TMJ Disorder Can Aggravate a Bad Posture
When you have poor posture, all the muscles in your body themselves to achieve a state of balance – this includes the position of facial muscles. This can shift your bite and cause TMJ disorder. When left untreated, TMJ disorder can radiate pain from the jaw to the neck down to the shoulders and back, affecting one’s posture even more.
TMJ Treatments Available Caused by Bad Posture
While there are dental appliances that can help realign your bite and alleviate pain caused by TMJ disorder, practicing good posture coupled with TMJ therapy exercises is the best solution.
Practice good posture when sitting and standing so that your body will align properly.
How to Practice Good and Correct Posture
When Standing: Keep your shoulders back and your chest forward, making sure that you lengthen your spine and do not jut your chin forward.
When Sitting: Hold your upper body as you would in the correct standing position, making sure that your buttocks touch the back of your chair and that your weight is distributed evenly on the hips. Your knees should be at or above hip level when sitting. If they are not, use a footstool to elevate them.
Consult Dr. Reese
If symptoms of your TMJ disorder don’t disappear even with practicing good posture and TMJ therapy exercises, consult with Indianapolis dentist Dr. Reese. Dr. Reese is a member of the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain and has been practicing dentistry for over 25 years. If you are suffering from head, neck, or jaw pain, please call Dr. Reese’s office at 317-882-0228 and ask for a TMJ consultation.