Test your balance and strength
Your bite can have an impact beyond your mouth. An unbalanced bite can cause posture problems as well. Your balance, flexibility and potential strength can all be impacted by an unbalanced bite. Try this simple test to see for yourself.
Stand with your arms held tightly your side and your hands in fists. With your mouth closed so that your back teeth are touching have someone stand beside you and lift your hand until you begin to lose your balance. You may be surprised at how quickly you become unsteady.
Next, try the exercise again, this time with a pencil or thin plastic pen between your teeth. You should find your ability to keep your balance improves.
This occurs because a clenched bite requires you to engage more than your jaw muscles. You must also use the muscles of the head, neck and back to help bring the teeth together. Another way to test this is to try to touch your toes with and without holding the pencil between your teeth. You should be able to bend further with the pencil.
What does this test show us? The pencil helps you bring your jaw into proper alignment. When your jaw is positioned properly, your body is able to function more efficiently.
How are your bite and your posture connected?
Your bite can affect your posture and vice versa. Here’s how.
- When your posture affects your bite, we call it an ascending issue. Caused by flat feet, twisted hips or tight muscles, the way you stand and walk affects your head posture and your bite.
- When your bite affects your posture, we call it a descending issue. This occurs when a bad bite creates a destabilizing force on the connection between your head and neck. This lack of stability impacts how use use and carry your shoulders, back and neck.
Everything in your body is connected. How your teeth bite together could be affected by how your head sits on your neck vertebrae. To experience this, try this simple test:
- Sit as straight as you can, clench your back teeth gently. Now tap them softly together, and pay attention to which teeth tap first.
- Tip your head to the right and repeat the test.
- Tip your head to the left and do the same.
You will probably notice that your bite changes each time you change your head position. Different teeth connect when you are tip your head at different angles.
What does that have to do with a balanced bite?
Many people do not realize that their head posture is unbalanced. To see if yours is, go to a mirror. You may see that one shoulder slightly lower than the other. If this is the case, your head will probably tip in the direction away from the low shoulder. Your head may also be slightly rotated left or right. These seemingly small posture imperfections are reflected in your bite.
A NUCCA Chiropractor could help rebalance your bite
One of the first steps to rebalance a bite is to ensure your head is balanced atop your neck. If your head tilts to one side, your jaw will swing to the opposite and cause you to grind your teeth. The same thing can happen if your head is tilted too far forward.
To balance your head, an Upper Cervical Chiropractor who specializes in non-ballistic, massage-like adjustments to the head and neck can help. Upper Cervical Chiropractors, also known as N.U.C.C.A. (National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association) Chiropractors, do not twist or crack your neck. Rather they provide directed, light massage to help align the vertebrae of your head and neck. The process involves gentle massage close to your ear. It helps unravel any twisting in the alignment of your head or neck.
Dental patients who have their posture analyzed and treated by a NUUCA Chiropractor often respond faster to treatment. In fact, sometimes the NUCCA adjustment alone is all that is necessary. Why?
Treatment for a bite that is affected by posture may not be successful if a postural problem is not treated at the same time. If your bite is treated, but your posture remains unstable, your new bite may not feel at home and could revert back to its dysfunctional position..
Conversely, when a postural problem that is caused by a bad bite is treated by a chiropractor, he or she may not be able to achieve long term stability if the bite is not treated as well. That’s why chiropractors and dentists often work in partnership to treat TMJ disorders.