Two new studies have found that those who have poor posture and balance issues may find relief in the orthodontist’s office.
Spanish and Austrian researchers identified a relationship between malocclusion (bad bite) and a person’s ability to control their posture and balance, according to Science Daily.
The studies offer conclusive data about the connection between improved postural control and treatment to shift the jaw into a neutral position. These studies have been published in “Motor Control and Neuroscience Letters.”
The link between poor posture/balance control and malocclusion appears to be in the nervous system. The trigeminal nerve, which is responsible for chewing function, and the vestibular nucleus, responsible for balance control, influence each other. The same is true for the relationship between the neck and the chewing muscles.
“This influence would explain why dental malocclusions negatively affect postural control,” the Science Daily article states. “Up until now, however, there was no conclusive research.”
The Spanish study investigated the type of dental occlusion in participants, and whether they previously underwent orthodontic treatment. Changes in teeth alignment were related to poorer balance control when not in motion, according to Science Daily.
The Austrian study investigated types of dental occlusion, posture control and physical fatigue to analyze whether a relationship existed among the three. They discovered that balance improved when malocclusions were corrected.
Posture and balance control issues grew more pronounced when study participants were fatigued. They also worsened when additional factors were involved, such as obesity.
The connection between malocclusion and other problems such as temporomandibular joint disorder, migraines and abnormal tooth wear has long been known.
“To find studies that have identified a connection between malocclusion and other ailments in the body drives home the point that orthodontic treatment isn’t just about aesthetics,” says Dr. Nima. “It has tangible health benefits beyond the mouth.”
These studies may prove particularly valuable to athletes looking to enhance performance. Posture and balance improvements can lead to better performance and perhaps reduce the number of sprains, strains and fractures, the Science Daily article states.