Let’s Talk About Posture
One would think why would a dentist need to talk about posture? The most common issues dentist see in kids these days are:
- Mouth breathing
- Open mouth posture
- Crowded, maligned teeth, improper bite, Tmj pain
These presentation go in hand with other body presentations:
- Tonsil and adenoid growth
- Recurrent ear infections
- Behavior issues
- Gut issues
- Noisy breathing, OSA
- Pain, headaches
Just to name a few…
As we dig deeper to find solutions for dentistry related problem we found that whenever there is deviation from norm the body shows multiple signs and symptoms. Sometimes being a clinician means putting your CSI (chair-side investigation) eyes on. So here we go.
What role does posture play in orthodontics and jaw development and proper oral function?
Throughout times all cultures have given importance to posture in the way you sit, eat, daily chores, and all form of classical dance. Indigenous people intuitively knew this and suffer less from the modern day problems.
When the posture is correct, everything is aligned to its optimal physiologic position. There is little slumping of the back for the mom and the baby and this is second nature. Everything is aligned correctly as nature intended.
This brings us to the concept of posture
What should be our oral posture and what relevance does this even hold in overall health?
Modern day practices like using pacifiers, improper use of straws, spoon feeding has created a lot of imbalances in the proper oro – motor /sensory development. Soft mushy food which does not involve much chewing. Chewing is a stimulus for bone growth and muscle development.
Symptoms of oral – motor and oral – sensory dysfunction
- Delayed advance of textures because the child can’t physically manage chewing solid foods
- Slow or inefficient chewing
- Food left in the mouth
- Food falling from the mouth
- Coughing or choking
- Low intake of food (the child may not consume enough calories because it takes so long to eat)
- Delayed advance of other feeding milestones (such as transitioning to a regular open cup from a sippy cup)
- Refusal to eat
- Crying during meal times
- Delayed eating milestones (the child may be able to tolerate liquids and purees but have trouble with chewable foods, or vice versa)
- Unusual taste preferences (such as salsa on eggs)
- Food falling from the mouth
Homunculus – The little man inside our brains depicts the importance of oro-motor / sensory development.
Intentional proper oral posture training will help us develop the muscle function and in turn help with most common dental problems of crooked teeth, mouth breathing, bite and jaw problems which have far reaching effects on the rest of the body as described.
Gopex (Good oral posture exercises):
The are simple 7 set of exercises spanning up to 8-10 minutes each day. These are stuff we do throughout the days anyways but now would be doing it with intention of the end in mind. Teaching these small concepts to kids and reminding them of this will help them do this as their second nature. Remember your child learnt to drink a certain way eat a certain way just due to repetition. Studies have confirmed it takes 30 day to change or make a new habit.
So what are these exercises anyway:
These are simple daily chores like eating, reading, counting, keeping lips closed at all times except while talking, learning the importance of pause which promotes nasal breathing, simple things of this nature done the correct way.
We make it fun for the kids by tracking it on the app and rewarding their progress.
This is followed by Orthotropic tooth movements with appliances-removal or fixed to align the teeth and make room for all teeth.
It has been our observation that the exercises will make the outcome for the treatment straight forward and shorter in time.