The term ‘ortho’ relates to two aspects of what we do…
One is the aesthetic improvement of crooked teeth and relates to classic orthodontics.
The other relates to orthopaedics and this involves the movement of bone and in this case, the jaws as it relates to function.
We believe that both these aspects should be employed for the improvement of health. This may seem like an ideological and a controversial statement as it does not conform to conventional treatment.
Improve aspects of your health by improving the position and function of the oral-cranial complex
We believe that our jaws have shrunk over the last 400 to 700 years due to the change of our environment over this time and has resulted in a few ubiquitous yet detrimental changes over time.
This change has been too quick for our genetics to have changed to keep up in the sense that we are still growing large and numerous teeth and our tongues are still the same sizes and neither fit within the new smaller jaws.
To learn more about the reasons why industrialisation has caused this change in our jaw size, we encourage you to visit our page on Mouth Breathing and Jaw Development.
The aftereffects of our adaption to our new environment on our health
The biggest effect of the change to our jaw position is the change in the mode of breathing from nasal to oral. This is a chicken and egg argument as the biggest contributor to the change in the size of the jaws is the act of mouth breathing. In turn, the nasal passages are restricted and necessitates mouth breathing to fill the lungs.
The argument against mouth breathing (habitual or obstructive) is not a controversial topic. Many clinical papers have been published explaining its effects:
- Change of the facial structure from growing slightly down and mostly forward to the mostly downward growth, resulting in narrow face. This is more than just aesthetics as the effect on the soft tissue functioning is
- Increased incidence of gum and decay problems due to drying of the saliva.
- Increased incidence of sleep-disordered breathing.
- Narrower upper and lower jaw leading to dental crowding.
- Higher palate leading to a decreased ability to breathe through the nose
- Postural changes and the associated back, knee and foot pain.
- A decrease of Nitric oxide production and the resultant increase of blood pressure.
- A decrease of Nitric oxide and the anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal effect of this gas on the susceptibility to chronic upper airway infections.
- A decrease of Nitric oxide and the subsequent increase of inflammatory diseases like allergic rhinitis, chronic sinusitis, nasal and sinus polyps, primary ciliary dyskinesia and cystic fibrosis.
- Decreased sleep quality leading to increased daytime irritability, lowered scholastic or academic achievement, increased odds of problematic social behaviour, hyperactivity and peer difficulties.
More controversial publications have suggested the following effects:
- The effect of mouth breathing directly and related sleep-disordered breathing on ADD and ADHD or the possible misdiagnosis of ADD and ADHD
- Mouth breathing has also been linked to possible clenching and grinding and this combined with the backward pressure to the jaw joint due to smaller jaws may cause TMJ problems.
- Mouth breathing may also contribute to SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
- Anecdotal evidence indicates that the postural changes combined with muscle tenderness and TMJ problems may be the cause of some migraine symptoms.
- The lack of Nitric oxide may have an effect on the nasal microbiome that can translate to a negative effect on the gut biome. More and more studies are now coming out on the relation of gut biome to autoimmune problems, obesity, allergies, anxiety and depression
The other part of the oral-cranial complex we look at is the strength and mobility of the tongue and how this develops the top jaw. We assess the tongue as the dominant force in the mouth to see if it is capable to assume its proper place in the mouth for all the important functions it has.
Softer diet has resulted in a weaker tongue and in some cases unable to overcome some restrictive soft tissue that inhibits mobility and this may have an effect on speech as well as bolus formation.
Holistic Dental Treatment to Improve Your Overall Health
The holistic treatment would involve a multidisciplinary approach but what is it that we can do to help with this. The more important part of ‘Ortho for Health’ is the emphasis on forward dental orthopaedics. To read more on this topic, click here.
If you would like to book a consultation with Dr Ian to learn more about his holistic approach and how it can impact your overall health, get in contact with our friendly team.