Episode 080 | How Your Teeth Affect Your Posture
Hello and welcome to episode number 80 of Elmar´s Tooth Talk: The missing link to total health.
In today’s episode we explore an often overlooked and underestimated area of dentistry which is the connection between teeth, the jaw joint, some other sensory organs and your overall posture.
There is even a word for this connection. It is called Posturology.
Originally, this episode was intended to be another interview with my dear friend and colleague Dr Dirk Schreckenbach. However, due to the unfortunate poor quality of the recording I had to switch to this monologic format.
What is in it for you today:
We talk about
- What is Posturology
- How did Posturology develop?
- What are the five key sensory receptors?
- What are Postural imbalances?
- Why postural insoles are different to orthotics
- What are the benefits of Posturology?
Dentistry and patient’s posture.
As dentists to support our patient’s wellbeing we should look beyond just teeth and gums.
I always find it fascinating how teeth and the way they come together affect a patient’s posture. A simple test which I tell you in just a moment shows if there is an imbalance caused by your teeth.
Now, there is an almost unknown methodology, a science of looking at this connection: it is called Posturology.
A lot of people think Urology? No, it has nothing to do with your water works it’s all about your POSTURE hence the name Posturology.
The term “posturology” comes from the root words “postura, meaning the poise” how you stand in an upright position and “logos, meaning the teaching”.
What is Posturology?
Posturology is the study of posture or, even better, the study of the posture system.
School of Posturology
The first studies about posturology were carried out by Dr Karl Vierordt, a German physician from Tübingen. Tübingen by the way is the city where I started studying Dentistry forty years ago.
Dr Vierordt then founded a posturology school in Berlin in 1890. Dr Vierordt’s knowledge somehow got forgotten.
Posturology only came back to new life in France in the 60’s of last century when
Neurophysiologist Jean-Bernard Baron, created the International Society for Postural and Gait Research (ISPG
In the 1970’s Dr. Pierre-Marie Gagey from Paris developed a scientific and medical approach of the postural control, including vision, inner ear and foot sensitivity.
One of his students, Dr. Michel Marignan, studied the impact of dentistry in the postural control. He also added auriculotherapy to the postural treatment.
Another neurophysiologist from Paris, Dr. Rene Bourdiol created proprioceptive insoles.
French physical therapist, Alain Semont, concerned about the impact the inner ear developed a remarkable method of vestibular rehabilitation
Dr Bernhard Bricot
It appears that French orthopedic surgeon Dr. Bernard Bricot put these findings together and developed his treatment of “global postural reprogramming”.
According to Bricot pain and movement restrictions arise because the statics of your body are disturbed due to malpositions, curvatures and / or relieving postures.
The Five key sensory receptors affect Your Posture
There are five key sensory receptors that affect your posture:
- Inner ear,
- TMJ joint
These five sensory organs with their muscle receptors enable the brain to interpret the position of the body in space and therefore is able to create a balance.
Eyes, feet, inner ear, skin, TMJ joint and muscle receptors inform and shape the tonic posture system that sets the upright posture.
If your eyes are not aligned properly or your correction glasses are not made correctly your body must compensate.
Insufficient convergence is the inability to maintain proper binocular eye alignment when viewing an object from a distance and then up close.
The muscles of the eye can be corrected with eye exercises to strengthen eye musculature, special eye drops to stimulate muscle responsiveness, and small magnets to inhibit tight eye muscles.
All these processes will enhance the abilities of the eye muscles, and the eyes will respond to the eye exercises more rapidly and effectively.
Posturologists say that full correction of eye convergence is possible.
However, if these measurements are not taken, compensation will set in which means that something else in your posture must adapt. This can be muscles, the shoulders, the TMJ joint and so forth.
There are very few people with genuine leg length differences. This happens when they broke a leg during before they stopped growing, and the leg then lags behind the other one in development.
But these are under 1% of the population. I would bet that many people wearing orthotics do not have a genuine leg length difference but suffer from postural imbalance which unfortunately the practitioner hasn’t checked.
Postural insoles are completely different to orthotics prescribed by podiatrists
Postural insoles must be worn at all times in order to permanently reprogram the deficiencies discovered in that area.
The Inner ear
When the Inner ear is affected, this can lead to imbalance, nausea, dizziness, vertigo, or inexplicable falls
Scars can influence your musculature and posture. Scars also cut meridians of energy.
Untreated pathological scars can cause an increase in adrenaline output which can provoke change in blood pressure, increase glycemia which can lead to insulin secretion and hypoglycaemia.
Scars also have associations with obesity.
Pathological scars can be treated with the use of specific essential oils, laser therapy, or injection of a local anaesthetic such as procaine.
One of the most neglected components of the sensorial system is the TMJ with its components teeth, muscles and jaw articulation.
This means if your teeth are not aligned properly, for example through orthodontic treatment, a filling or crown that is too high. The body adapts to these imbalances. But to do so, something else must give way or adjust to the new situation such as the muscles, jawbone, TMJ joint.
Bad dental occlusion can therefore cause amongst other neck-aches, headaches, dizziness, tinnitus, tooth ache, and evening and morning aches and pains.
A simple test brings clarity
Remember the test I mentioned at the beginning of the podcast? Here it is.
The patient lies flat on the dental chair or on a therapy bench with their teeth not touching each other. I then grab their feet, move them about and bring them back together. Under normal circumstances, the knuckles of left and right foot are the same length.
Now I ask the patient to stand up, close their mouth, bring the teeth together and walk a few metres before lying back on the chair. I grab the feet again and very often the knuckels are at different length.
This shows how an imbalanced bite situation can cause one foot to be longer than the other.
There are other easy to perform tests to demonstrate how an imbalanced occlusion can affect your posture.
The big challenge obviously is to find out which of the five components is out of alignment.
This is when the posturology trained practitioner comes in to play.
What are the benefits?
In nutshell we can say that Posturology like holistic dentistry addresses the causes, not the symptoms of your problem, and restores functional movement.
Posturology is still very little known in the today’s field of medicine.
Like with holistic dentistry it appears that medicine does not welcome unfamiliar technologies.
However, when we look back in a few decades at both holistic dentistry and posturology what seemed unfamiliar then will be the new normal.
And the mocked and ridiculed practitioners who volunteered in these areas who stuck their heads out from above ground will be seen as pioneers and even revolutionaries.
On this note, thanks for tuning in.
That’s it for today.
See you next time at Elmar’s Tooth Talk – The missing link to total health.
Bye for now.
The American Posture Institute