The solution to your pain — from chronic headaches to sleepless nights — could be found at the dentist’s office.
For most women nowadays, we wake up every day and try to be there for everyone in our families. However, most of the time, we forget to prioritize being there for ourselves.
I personally fell through this trap more than what I would like to admit.
It was this journey that made me dig deep into my professional life to be a stand for myself and my female patients who most of the time want to delay their care because they want to prioritize something or someone else. However, as my dear friend always reminds me, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
It’s essential for women to take a stand for their health first. Diseases such as heart attacks, strokes, different forms of cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, emotional and psychiatric issues, are at an all-time high.
It will take a movement of all us women, standing hand-in-hand, listening and caring for one another. And, most importantly, loving and caring for yourself first to be able to make a difference and create positive change.
Now, why is a dentist talking about these diseases?
I’m talking about these issues because what most of us don’t realize is that the source of a lot of these diseases stems from problems that start in the mouth, and affect us, especially us women, at so many levels.
Most of us are not aware of an existing problem until there is a significant change in our health.
Here, I will shine light on four of those root causes:
- Chronic headaches, bite, or jaw joint issues
- Periodontal disease/endodontic abscesses
- Breathing and airway health
- Quality of our sleep
These are all conditions that could cause chronic inflammation and alter our immune response, predisposing us to all sorts of diseases.
First, I will focus on how a misaligned bite can be the culprit to problems such as headaches, pain in the muscles of the head, neck, and even shoulder and back, as well as the jaw joint pain.
Alignment of the teeth affects how our jaw joints swing and move. The way you use the masticatory muscles and the way you breathe can affect these sensitive joints. The chewing muscles create enormous pressure on the jaw joint; they can generate up to hundreds of pounds of pressure.
A balanced bite and aligned dentition affects the way these forces are distributed. It helps distribute the loads to prevent damage to the jaw joint. There is a direct connection between your bite, chewing muscles, neck muscles, and posture.
Early research reports estimated 83% of patients with confirmed joint disorders presented with forward head posture. Therefore, an unbalanced bite can cause a compression in the joint to clenching and grinding, receding gum line, tooth sensitivity to headaches, as well as head, neck, shoulder, and even back pain.
Your bite is a key part of bone and muscle function, and dentists can play a key role in alleviating a lot of the pain in the head, neck, and shoulders if more attention is paid to the bite. In a “perfect” mouth, the top and bottom dental arches and teeth are perfectly aligned with each other and work like gears with molars fitting together seamlessly. Unfortunately, this almost never happens naturally in a human mouth anymore.
As humanity became more Westernized, this affected the way our jaws developed. Based on anthropological research, our ancestors had more developed skulls. They are relating this to our Westernized diet. This in turn is now causing our misaligned dentition, headaches, shoulder, and muscle pain.
Another consequence, that I will later take a deeper dive into, is how this is affecting our breathing with all its consequences, as well as sleep-related issues. Our breath is essential to healthy living! We take more than 20,000 breaths a day, yet rarely anyone pays close attention to it and how it affects our well-being and vitality.
At the same time, sleep is essential for our physical and mental well-being, from our performance to our mood and memory. Therefore, this is a matter that cannot be taken lightly and is very pertinent to our whole body health.
Therefore, when assessing a patient for all these issues in the dentist’s office, I’m closely evaluating the bite, the size of the arches, the conditions of their joints, their muscles, the way they breathe, their oral habits, tongue postures, the quality of their sleep, and their posture.
At that point, we then make the proper recommendations. This can include a splint therapy, arch development, aligner therapy or functional orthodontics, myofunctional therapy, or sleep appliance.In addition to that, I have an integrative approach to care. Proper referrals are made when needed from chiropractors, ENTs, and sleep physicians, among others.
For more information or to schedule a limited time complimentary consultation with Dr. Rima Bazzi, please call the Contemporary Dentistry Canton location at (734) 890-5802 or the Dearborn location at (313) 986-4976.
—Written by Dr. Rima Bazzi of Contemporary Dentistry