Study Links Occlusion to Balance

Boutique Dentistry for Nashville, Tennessee

What are the functions of your teeth? You might come up with answers like smiling and eating. If you are thinking about it, you might also mention their crucial role in speech. But few people think about the role of your teeth and jaw in maintaining your body’s core strength and balance. But this is one of the vital functions of your teeth and if your teeth are not healthy and properly configured your body can have more difficulty maintaining balance.

This effect becomes more pronounced as people get tired, and it’s likely to have more impact in situations that demand greater balance. Nashville neuromuscular dentist Dr. Kent E. White maintains a comprehensive focus on dentistry, always taking into account the impacts your teeth have on your body as a whole. When he designs a smile makeover or any cosmetic dentistry, ensuring proper occlusion is part of the goal so you will always feel steadier on your feet after getting dental work from Dr. White.

Testing Occlusion and Balance

To test the impact of bite on balance, researchers took ten healthy subjects and tested them under four different conditions. First, people’s balance was tested on a stable platform, then it was tested on an unstable platform (the rest condition). Next, people were asked to do the same balance tests after doing some demanding exercises (the fatigue condition).

They discovered that those with good occlusion had better balance than those with poor occlusion. Occlusion is the way your teeth fit together, a more scientific determination of the relationship between your teeth than simply saying whether teeth are “straight” or “crooked,” although, generally straight teeth have good occlusion while crooked teeth have poor occlusion.

Although the better balance was always detectable, it was only statistically significant when people were either fatigued or on an unstable platform.

Although the impact of the poor occlusion was not always significant, it was constant, and therefore could make more of a difference if people are in situations that stress their balance system.

When Occlusion Might Matter Most

When people look at this issue of occlusion and balance, they may immediately jump to the conclusion that this is only an issue for athletes, who are constantly pushing themselves to the limit in terms of balance, but there are many situations where occlusion may make a difference in everyday life.

Fatigue, of course, affects all of us, especially anyone who is trying to remain physically active. But with the obesity epidemic, more people may be impacted by their occlusion. Obesity is a balance challenge for the body, with more mass to balance.

But perhaps the most important balance challenge comes as we age. Falls are a leading cause of injury and death among the elderly. It is not coincidental that many elderly people have lost some or all of their teeth. Therefore, it’s crucial that we make sure replacement teeth are also replacing occlusion.

Dental implants when properly designed are a great way to replace occlusion lost with one or more teeth. Elderly people in good general and oral health are candidates for dental implants–there’s no upper age limit for implants.

FOY ® Dentures become an optimal choice for full arch replacement. FOY ® Dentures are designed with neuromuscular principles in mind, so they ensure proper occlusion even for people who have lost all their teeth, something that traditional dentures may not.

To learn more about dental treatment that helps maintain proper occlusion and therefore a healthy, stable core, please call (615) 383-6787 today for an appointment with Nashville dentist Dr. White at the Center for Advanced Dentistry.