If left untreated, orthodontic problems can result in tooth decay, gum disease, headaches and earaches, as well as speaking, biting or chewing problems.
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If you experience frequent headaches and pain in your lower jaw, check your posture and consult your dentist about temporomandibular disorder (TMD), recommends the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), an organization of general dentists dedicated to continuing dental education.
Poor posture places the spine in a position that causes stress to the jaw joint. When people slouch or hunch over, the lower jaw shifts forward, causing the upper and lower teeth to not fit together properly, and the skull moves back on the spinal column.
This movement puts stress on muscles, joints and bones and, if left untreated, can create pain and inflammation in muscles and joints when the mouth opens and closes.
"Good posture is important, yet many people don't realize how posture affects their oral health," says AGD spokesperson Ludwig Leibsohn, DDS.
Dr. Leibsohn treats patients who have complained of facial pain. "Their posture often is unbalanced, and this rearranges the position of the facial muscles, causing the bumps and grooves on the upper and lower teeth not to fit properly together," said Dr. Leibsohn.
An oral appliance can help align the teeth in a position that will reduce facial pain caused by poor posture. The appliance can also prevent future damage to teeth.
Updated: November 2008
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