Poor posture causes a wide range of harmful effects on your overall health such as back and neck pains. However, not many people are aware of the profound link between posture and oral health. Simply stated, poor posture can lead to oral health problems, which may come as a surprise to many people.
Your head is joined to your jaw, your jawbone to your neck, and your neck to your shoulders and so on. If one part or branch of the chain is out of place, the rest of the parts can be thrown off balance as well. This correlation is especially true with regards to posture and your bite. Many people sit or stand with their heads inclined too far forward. This exerts a lot of strain and tension on the muscles in the neck, shoulders, jawbone, and the spinal cord. Consequently, your shoulders are pushed forward while your jaws fall back, thus causing your bite to be misaligned which leads to a host of serious problems for your dental health.
Do you have the right posture?
Before looking at how posture affects your dental health, how can you ascertain whether your posture is okay or misaligned? Well, you have the option of conducting either a mirror test or a wall test.
Face a full-length mirror and take a keen look at yourself. Are your shoulders straight? Are your hips level? Do your kneecaps face forward? Are your ankles straight and not bent? If you’ve answered yes to these questions, your posture is rather good.
Place the back of your head and backside against a wall while maintaining a distance of about 6 inches between your heels. Determine the distance between the wall and your lower back as well as your neck by using your hand. The ideal posture falls within an inch or two.
- Jaw pain
Bad posture is linked to temporomandibular joint syndrome, widely referred to as TMJ. Bad posture misaligns your vertebral spine while at the same time leads to an improper bite, which causes serious problems to your temporomandibular joints. Note that these two joints act as the connection link between your jawbone and the temporal skull bones. Your temporomandibular joints work in the same way as a hinge, letting you open and shut your mouth. Bad posture such as slouching often causes these finely balanced joints to become skewed. Due to the misalignment, they are may lock, pop or even twinge, causing jaw pain and chewing difficulty.
- Teeth damage
Slouching tends to push or nudge the lower section of your jaw forward which causes the bite to become distorted. As a result, the upper and lower teeth do not fit together as expected. The jaw, in response, attempts to compensate by bringing the teeth together by applying excessive strain and tension. This may cause damage to the jaw as well as the teeth themselves. There are dental devices like ceramic braces to help realign your teeth and guard your jaw from continued damage, but the best option is to practice correct posture.
- A misaligned bite
The rest of the body suffers due to a misaligned jaw bite. The bite determines the shape and position of the jaw which in turn, determines the position of the head. So if your head leans forward, this exerts a lot of stress and tension on the neck, collarbone and spine. As a result, myriad problems including the compression of the ear canal resulting in hypersensitivity or drainage issues may occur.
How to improve your posture
Different people have different body shapes but in general, good posture is obtained by observing a few things. Try out the following simple tips to correct your posture.
- You need to stand upright. To do so, make sure that your ears, shoulders, knees and ankles all line up when you check in the mirror.
- When sitting, make sure your ears and hips are all lined up. If working on a computer, the ideal position of your eyes should be the centre of the monitor screen.
- Make sure your stomach muscles are tight. A stronger core equates to a straighter body framework.
There’s a close connection between your posture and oral health. Contact a good Singapore orthodontist to help correct your misaligned teeth and jaws as well as advise you on how to improve your posture. A better posture will not only improve your dental health, but your overall physical health as well.