We slouch a lot. Whether it’s checking a text message, sitting at work or reading in bed, we’re often craning the neck downward, jutting the chin backward and slouching the shoulders. Sitting and standing in this position every day can lead to a weaker back and pain throughout the neck and shoulders. But did you know poor posture can be linked to your oral health, too?
A systematic review in the Journal of Acupuncture Research found that, of nine clinical studies published between 2005 and 2017, six found a correlation between temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) and body posture. Though the verdict is still out on which precedes the other, the link is too prevalent to ignore.
How Does My Posture Relate to TMD?
As its name would suggest, the temporomandibular joint connects your temporal bone with your mandible. Thanks to this joint, you can eat and talk, and the joint is constantly performing a balancing act to keep your jaw aligned with your head and neck.
Now, imagine what your spine and head look like from a side view; the more slouched forward your neck and shoulders are, the more misaligned your jaw becomes. The joint then overworks to bring the jaw back into alignment with the skull.
If you experience frequent headaches, a sore jaw or neck, dizziness, tooth sensitivity, and forward-head posture, you may have TMD. Luckily, our compassionate and experienced team can help diagnose and treat TMD using its Top Down Dental approach, as we recognize your head, neck, and shoulders are just a few parts of a larger whole.
How Do I Fix It?
Dr. Nancy Nehawandian at Top Down Dental in Los Gatos can diagnose and treat TMD in a variety of ways. If Dr. Nehawandian finds your TMD is caused by a misaligned jaw, she can determine your correct jaw position using a series of non-invasive tests.
We recognize that your oral health is just one facet of your overall health; if one part of the body is not functioning correctly, it throws off your entire rhythm. If Dr. Nehawandian determines that poor posture is playing a role in your TMD, physical therapy may be an optimal treatment. An unbalanced bite or deteriorating or missing teeth can also cause jaw misalignment, and treatments may include a dental orthotic, tooth restoration using porcelain veneers or crowns to strengthen your smile. As a last resort, Dr. Nehawandian may recommend surgery to restore the joint itself.
We Can Help Stop the Aching
If you frequently find yourself exhibiting forward-head posture or your head, neck and jaw often feel achy or sore, it may not be just your chair or pillow at fault; it may be TMD.
For questions or to schedule an appointment with holistic dentist Dr. Nancy Nehawandian in Los Gatos about TMD, poor posture or headaches, please call (408) 354-5600 today.