We all know that getting our teeth checked and keeping them in good shape is crucial for a healthy life. But teeth, and their problems, could reveal deeper health issues. Indeed, misaligned teeth could expose health problems that go far beyond the limits of your mouth.
Scientists are trying to learn more fully the links between crooked teeth and overall health issues. To do this, scientists need to further their understanding of facial development deficiencies that cause crooked teeth. They need to surmise if this is linked to external factors like modern, industrialized diets. The connection between teeth misalignment and degenerative healthy problems necessitates a greater, clearer understanding of links between all.
For how common dental malocclusion—teeth misalignment—is among the U.S. population, we don’t discuss the cause of it enough. A key possible factor in misalignment may be our Westernized, industrial diet. In fact, some have gone as far as to call malocclusions a “disease of westernization.”
Processed foods contain a lot of sugar, which is an essential prerequisite for bacterial growth in your mouth
The reason for this label is that studies have suggested that dental occlusion is related to our modern diets. In a comparative study, scientists analyzed indigenous Australian Yuendumu tribes and found startling data. Generations that had been exposed to cooked, processed diets tended to develop malocclusion at higher rates. Those of the previous generation, before this exposure, had comparatively far fewer poor occlusions.
Some scientists do not believe it is necessarily the West’s diet. Instead they believe higher rates of malocclusions are due to the West’s greater, more variable genetic mixtures from so many different populations. A study on animals cast doubt on this idea: when fed soft, industrialized foods, pigs developed altered jaws when compared to their fellow pigs fed on their traditional diet.
Teeth serve a greater purpose than merely tearing and mashing your food to smithereens. One of their most crucial functions is to support the skull during occlusion. Part of the jaw’s job is to provide the spine with stability during the process of swallowing. Misaligned teeth could make swallowing difficult.
Furthermore, teeth determine the position of the skull on the jaw. This relationship is significant because it can affect the curvature of the spine: an underdeveloped lower jaw or one that misaligns the teeth can cause the support of the skull to droop. Unsurprisingly, this results in abnormal, poor body posture.
Misaligned teeth can affect the position of your jaw and your posture in general as a consequence.
We live in an age of increasingly poor posture. Much of it is related to technology like iPads, laptops and working at desks. The relationship between malocclusions and skull position, however, provides another factor in our deteriorating posture.
An adult skull is hardly light: it weights between 12 to 18 lbs. and the strain to support the increasing numbers of the incorrect forward head posture is proving to be punishing on our bodies. This harmful head posture can cause symptoms ranging from muscle fatigue, fibromyalgia, snoring, sleep apnea, sinusitis, and frequent ear infections.
Misaligned teeth can cause a whole slew of difficulties when it comes to oral functions: swallowing, chewing and speech patterns can and are all often affected in negative ways. Malocclusions also cause the usual dental problems like tooth decay and periodontal disease.
Beyond dentistry, malocclusions could affect our health on psychological and social levels. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that misaligned teeth can lead to altered self-esteem, social and interaction responses, and greater self-consciousness, and not in a good way.
Basically, dental malocclusion is proving to be far a graver problem than most realize. Beyond what we’ve already mentioned, shifts in the jaw can cause poor adaptations: our head’s position is altered and, along with it, key capacities such as sight and vision. Changes to these will negatively impact our motor coordination and balance.