When your parents and teachers told you to sit up straight as a child, they were probably thinking of the health of your back. And, of course, it also helped you look attentive in class! But sitting up straight for dental health? That probably sounds a bit strange—but it's true.
Proper posture is important because your entire skeleton is connected. That might appear obvious, but it also means that things that affect one part of your body will also affect other connected parts. A bad knee, for example, can cause you to shift how you walk, causing hip discomfort or pulling your lower back out of alignment. And your jaws—and teeth—are no exception to this.
When you hunch over, especially with the shoulders and neck, your jaws are shifted. You can try it now—bend your neck forward, and this causes your lower jaw to also push forward, changing the way your teeth fit together. Straighten your back, and your jaws pull back into their proper alignment.
If you sit for long periods of time with your teeth fitting together poorly, it can cause wear on your teeth and put stress on your facial muscles. Being aware of your posture will help you avoid this, as can making sure you have a comfortable chair to sit in.
Strengthen Your Back
Strong back muscles make sitting up straight much easier. If the muscles of the back are weak, on the other hand, it becomes hard to sit for long periods without slouching. Balance-focused exercise programs like yoga and tai chi are good for improving your back muscles and helping you become more aware of how you hold your body.
There are also many exercises you can do on your own without any equipment. The Mayo Clinic has a series of exercises to strengthen your core—your back, abdomen, and pelvis—and thus make it easier to sit properly.
Consider A Standing Desk
If sitting for long periods of time is making your back sore and you're having difficulty keeping good posture for all that time, some people find using a standing desk makes things easier. If you position your standing desk properly according to its directions, you will naturally stand up straight in order to use it, bringing your neck and jaws into proper alignment.
Check Your Bite Alignment
In an interconnected system, problems run both ways. Just as poor posture can lead to facial pain, problems with your teeth can also cause headaches and neck pain. If you have a misaligned bite, your jaw muscles have to work harder to keep your teeth fitting together, and chewing is also more difficult. If you suffer from chronic headaches or facial pain, or you are missing teeth, make sure to have a dentist at a center like Dental Clinic Of Onalaska DDS check your bite alignment.