Why is oral health so important?
Growing up, I quickly learned from the adults around me that having one or a few crooked teeth was OK. And I truly accepted and believed it. I came to appreciate teeth that were not perfectly aligned enhanced a persons character. Wabi Sabi, in Japanese translates loosely to ‘flawed beauty’, the beauty found in imperfection.
In hindsight, and having discussed orthodontics with many parents over the years, I have come to the realization that most people just don’t or didn’t want to spend the money on correcting teeth alignment. It is unfortunate.
Having aligned teeth is more important than just for aesthetic reasons alone.
I have learned some new things over the last few years about oral health and teeth alignment. On my other website: You As A Machine, which focuses primarily on the physical aspects our our health; I have been trying to explain the importance and relationship with our physical body’s correct alignment and exercise (or daily movement patterns). What is really exciting for me, is to be able to draw the parallel between mouth and body to provide for you a comparison.
- There is an ideal placement of each tooth in our mouth for optimal function. Similarly, there is an ideal placement for each bone of our entire skeleton for optimal function.
- Brushing our teeth correctly (I have discovered) is like doing exercises for our teeth; the delicate daily pressure from the toothbrush actually reinforces each tooth’s position in the mouth.
- Similarly, the precision with which we focus on our Daily Body Maintenance exercises reinforces the correct alignment for our skeletal structure.
- If we brush our teeth incorrectly, we may suffer from receding gums or a build up of plaque or tarter around the gum line.
- If we exercise incorrectly, we may suffer from aching and worn joints, with the potential for tearing muscles, tendons and ligaments.
Wearing corrective orthodontic hardware is the only way to re-align and re-configure the placement of our teeth. Orthodontics treats improper bites (malocclusions), which can be a result of the irregularity of tooth and jaw placement. Wearing a custom made retainer for night (during sleep) ensures that the corrected teeth placement will be “retained” after braces have been removed. Wearing a retainer is like doing your daily body maintenance. Without the retainer, the teeth may very likely shift over time. There are many reported cases of adults returning to orthodontics (having worn braces as teenagers), but because 20 years ago patients were given the green light to stop wearing their retainers after the required 2 years; adult patients have noticed over subsequent years that the corrections from their youth did not hold.
This is quite the same with exercise: Use it or loose it!
Practice Daily Body Maintenance
Doing exercises correctly is very similar to wearing a retainer. We must practice moving our body correctly and with precision to maintain function. If not, our body will shift over time into a mis-aligned structure. If we experience chronic pain (but not limited to), that is our signal that we need to refine our approach. Better to refine poor alignment before chronic pain has time to set!
“If what you are doing isn’t working, doing more of it won’t work any better.”
The bottom line? If we are having problems with our body (mouth, heart, diabetes, overweight, etc.), then we must recognize that we need to do a better job at taking care of ourselves.
“There is no ONE GIANT step that does it,
it’s A LOT of little steps.”
There has been too much emphasis on duration and intensity of physical training, promising out-of-this-world results without attention to detail. For whatever reason, people have become believers in more is better, that more intense means better results. As we age it is not the dumbells we will need to pick up, but rather ourselves.
“No system of the body works in isolation, and the well-being of the person depends upon the well-being of all the interacting body systems.”
We need to practice getting down on the floor and picking ourselves up. Instead of focusing on body exercises alone, or brain enhancing exercises like Sudoku or Scrabble, we need to stimulate our brains by making the connection within the entire body.