Researchers Determine Malocclusion Negatively Affects Posture and Balance
There has been rising medical interest in correcting teeth that do not touch perfectly in order to prevent problems such as jaw pain, headaches and sleep disorders. Two studies carried out by the University of Barcelona and University of Innsbruck have concluded that dental occlusion is also related to the control of posture and balance.
Both studies provide convincing data that shows postural control is improved– both in static and dynamic equilibrium that worsen the body’s instability, thus decreasing postural control and increasing the risk of falls . This relationship in athletes can play a crucial role in how well they perform as well as in the prevention of injuries such as sprains and fractures caused by unexpected instability as fatigue increases and motor control capacity decreases.
“Therefore, it would be helpful for both the general population and athletes to consider correcting dental occlusions to improve postural control and thus prevent possible falls and instability due to a lack of motor system response'” noted Sonia Julia-Sanchez, PhD, MS, the main author of the studies. “Postural control is the result of a complex system that includes different sensory and motor elements arising from visual, somato-sensory, and vestibular information.”
The first study looked at the type of dental occlusion as well as whether had been previous orthodontic treatment. The results showed the alternations in alignment of the teeth were related to poorer control of static balance.
The second study assessed the type of dental occlusion, control of posture, and physical fatigue in order to analyze a possible relationship among these factors. The analysis demonstrated that balance improved when malocclusions were corrected, and that balance improved when malocclusions were corrected, and that the second had a greater impact on postural control when subjects were fatigued.
“When the subjects were tired, their balance was worse under both stable and unstable conditions… In contrast, a true relationship between exhaustion and dental occlusion was observed under conditions of maximum instability,” said Dr. Julia-Sanchez.
In conclusion, the link between the stomatognatic system (the set of organs and tissues that allow us to eat, talk, chew, swallow, and smile) and postural control has been determinned. This link may have a neurophysiological explanation. There is a reciprocal influence between the trigeminal nerve and the vestibular nucleus, which are responsible for chewing- masticatory function and balance control, as well as between the muscles of mastication and of the neck. This influence could explain why dental malocclusions negatively affect postural control.