What are the parts of your body’s balance system? Your inner ear, your eyes, and your brain all play a key role in helping your body stay upright and balanced. But did you know that your teeth also have a role to play in your balance?
That’s right–your teeth are essential to helping you maintain balance. That’s because the way your teeth fit together–called occlusion–helps stabilize your head, which houses these other elements of your balance system. Now a new study confirms that your occlusion impacts your balance.
Testing Occlusion and Balance
This study involved ten people who were relatively healthy and active. All ten subjects had their balance tested using three different variables. Subjects had their balance tested with their teeth closed and with their teeth separated by cotton rolls. They also had their balance tested on a stable platform and on an unstable platform. Finally, they had their balance tested when they were rested and when they were fatigued. Every possible combination was tested for each subject (ex. Teeth closed, stable platform, rested; teeth closed, unstable platform, rested; etc.), so each one underwent eight different tests.
It was found that those with their teeth closed together did worse than those with cotton rolls separating their teeth. This impact was found in every test, but it was only statistically significant when people were fatigued or on an unstable platform.
When Better Occlusion Will Help You
This study shows that most (if not all) people probably suffer from occlusion problems that may impact their balance. You might think that this only matters if you’re a person that is constantly pushing yourself to the limit. But there are many reasons why the impact of your occlusion might impact you on a daily basis.
Everybody experiences fatigue. If you work hard, have long days, or even deal with kids and chores after you get home in the evening, you may benefit from improved occlusion. If you notice that you tend to bump into things or feel a little dizzy at the end of the day, it may be that improved occlusion could help you.
Another potential problem where better occlusion could help is obesity. If you are carrying extra weight, your body has to work harder to maintain balance. Occlusion could make the difference for you.
And, of course, balance matters even more as we get older. Falls are a leading cause of injury among older individuals, and studies have shown that people with missing teeth or worn dentures are more likely to fall than those who have quality dentures or a full set of teeth. A dentist has to pay close attention to bite when replacing teeth with dentures or dental implants.
If you suspect that your bite might be impacting your balance or causing TMJ symptoms like headaches, jaw pain, or neck pain, please call (843) 706-2999 today for an appointment with a Hilton Head neuromuscular dentist at Beyond Exceptional Dentistry.