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The surprising link between posture and dental health

Sometimes, medical advances are about robotic devices, ground-breaking treatments, and lasers. Other times, it’s about re-thinking and re-examining traditional wisdom. For example, Dr. Steven Lin has taught us that some oral bacteria are good, and that cavities and wisdom teeth problems are avoidable if we just eat right.

His findings show that our impaction and overuse of braces can be prevented if we exercise our jaws from an early age, consuming foods with bite, collagen, and lots of Vitamin A, D, and K. This prompts our jaw bones and muscles to get bigger, leaving more room for growing teeth, and eliminating spacing problems. Dr. Lin also reminds us that snacking between meals and eating excess sugars over-exerts our oral bacteria.

Bacteria can be good …

In the right volumes, these bacteria kill harmful germs and protect our mouths. Overfed, they excrete excess acids that rot our teeth and gums. Meanwhile, mid-meal snacking keeps our mouths too busy for saliva to do its work of neutralising those excessive acids and maintaining healthy oral pH. Foods with bite encourage more saliva production, which balances out the acid and lets it work effectively.

Now Dr. Lewis Ehrlich has discovered another unusual cause of poor oral health. We generally associate bad posture with back problems and respiratory issues. It turns out it can hurt our teeth as well. Dr. Ehrlich is a holistic dentist, physical therapist, and health coach, and he tells us our screens are bad for our teeth.

When we spend long hours staring at our phones, computers, or digital devices, our necks curve south. We tend to bend down and lean into a ‘forward head’ or ‘text-neck’ posture. This posture often leaves our mouths slightly open, and as a result, we breathe through our mouths instead of our noses. This open-mouth habit dries out saliva, so the bacterial acids aren’t neutralised, and cavities are more likely to form.

And tech devices can be bad …

Our bodies adjust to this posture, and we may find ourselves standing or sitting this way even when there’s no screen within our view. Dry mouths expose our gums to harm, and the text-neck position can cause aches in our necks, jaws, and heads. These stresses can indirectly make us clench our jaws while awake and grind our teeth when we sleep.

Since our respiratory tracts will now be ‘trained’ for mouth breathing, we may experience sleep apnea, which can escalate into depression, anxiety, heart disease, diabetes, and bad grades via difficulties in learning. Fortunately, the solution isn’t to turn Luddite, tossing and smashing our devices. If it were, we’d all be lost.

Instead, be more conscious when using your gadget. Sit straighter, put your shoulders back, lift your chin, and raise your eye-line. Also, don’t text and walk. It may be more interesting than walking and chewing gum, but it’s way worse for your oral health. Finally, see your dentist at least twice a year. They can keep track of any potential risks to your oral health, even if those risks come in the form of a high-resolution digital screen.

To improve your dental health in expected and unexpected ways, call Dental Avenue Parramatta today on 02 80040055.

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