Does Mouth Taping Really Work?

BY ANNETTE VERPILLOT SEPT 15, 2019

The jaw is an essential part of everybody’s face. Think of how many times you have to chew food or open your mouth to speak.

Eleven different muscles move the thickest bone of your skull to perform these survival functions. Chronic upper body conditions hinder the quality of life of many today.

You might know someone who complains about waking up with stiffness or restricted head rotation. A report from the Palmer College of Chiropractic noted that 14% of American adults who consulted a healthcare professional had neck pain in 2018.

People relieve their symptoms with manual therapy, yet the pain comes back fast. The vicious cycle is stressful, let alone expensive, and often leaves them in despair. Few health professionals discuss the role of the jaw in pain and posture problems, despite the link between mastication and neck muscles, along with their intricate connections to the brain.

This article explores the anatomy and neurology of the jaw to understand their implication in your quality of life.

Place your fingers on your jaw next to your ear lobes. Now, open your mouth and move it sideways. The jaw has two bones – the maxillary anchored to your skull and the mobile mandible, both linked through the Temporomandibular Joint.

Many muscles move the jaw when you speak and masticate. These fibers help you articulate words and apply enough pressure to crush food with your teeth. Your four primary muscles of mastication include the Masseter and Temporalis, along with the lateral and medial Pterygoid.

The Masseter has some of the most potent fibers in your body. The average bite force of a human is 162 pounds per square inch (PSI), nearly five thousand times less than a Nile Crocodile at 5,000 PSI. This vast potential stems from a multipennate attachment where the fibers converge into many tendons.

Accessory work from the Suprahyoids and Infrahyoids supports functions ranging from the opening of your mouth to the widening of your esophagus, tongue movement, and swallowing.

Studies have shown that chewing involves the coordination of your neck and jaw muscles. The Upper Trapezius stabilizes your head while you grind and swallow, along with the Sternocleidomastoid and Splenius amongst others. Imagine trying to eat with a shaky head. This rhythmic co-activation is an essential aspect of your digestion.

Now, a closer look at the neurology of the jaw gives valuable insight into its role in pain and posture issues. Your mastication muscles connect to your nervous system through a branch of the largest, most complex nerves in your brain. The mandibular division of the Trigeminal nerve supplies these survival functions, and also sends sensory information about factors ranging from food content and textures to the position of your head.

This connection also supplies the inner ear, another crucial piece of your spatial awareness machinery. Both structures send constant feedback to the brain to stabilize your head and keep you upright.

Anything that disturbs this vital communication can lead to joint or muscle pain, along with postural misalignments. The next section examines different sources of jaw-related imbalances that hinder the harmony.

TMJ Disturbance

The anatomy and intricate neurology of the jaw affect the body from head to toe. Any structural imbalance that displaces the mandible from its rested position will hinder the signal. Here are three familiar sources of asymmetries encountered by Posturepro-trained practitioners:

Dental Occlusion

Dental occlusion refers to the position of upper teeth relative to the lower ones. Dentists classify this state as three classes:

● Class 1: Upper teeth cover one-third of the lower ones
● Class 2: Overbite
● Class 3: Lower teeth protrude ahead of the top onesNow, the influence of dental occlusion on posture remains a debated topic in the scientific literature. Two studies published in the PLOS One Journal noted small, yet consistent strength gains in subjects with an adjusted lower jaw, and improved symmetry in running patterns amongst participants.

Researchers from the University of Turin examined the effect of the jaw’s angle on spinal alignment. Their study, published in the Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology confirmed a forward sway of the spine.

These findings mirror what Posturepro-trained practitioners see in practice when we assess and correct the jaw.

Clenching/Grinding

The synergy between your neck and masticatory muscles helps you create enough force to crush and grind food. Problems arise when the clench becomes chronic, a condition called Bruxism linked to high-stress levels. The constant pressure overloads the connection and leads to excess tension in the neck and shoulders.

A study published in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation found that maximum voluntary clench had a close relation to the activation of anterior neck muscles such as the Digastrics and Sternocleidomastoids. Posturepro clients with neck pain often report waking up with sore jaw muscles and tight necks, a telltale sign of night grinding.

Mouth-Breathing

Oxygen is life. Your body developed two ways to inhale the precious gas: a primary, efficient way through your nose, and a second through the mouth in case of blockage.

Several studies have found a host of problems associated with mouth-breathing ranging from forward-head posture to development asymmetries of the face, ADHD, and even increased allergies. Brazilian researchers noted that in chronic mouth-breathing children had longer palates and greater lower face height.

Breathe through your nose to optimize your oxygen absorption. Posturepro-trained practitioners examine breathing patterns during an initial assessment.

Better Quality of Life Today

Your jaw is a prominent feature with a critical connection to the brain. The structure helps you break down part to digest nutrients and influences your spatial awareness. Book an online consultation with a Postirepro-trained practitioner to assess this pillar and fix any asymmetries. Your quality of life begins in your jaw.

References: 

(2018). Retrieved from http://www.palmer.edu/alumni/research-publications/gallup-report/managing-neck-and-back-pain-in-america/

Chambi‐Rocha, A., Cabrera‐Domínguez, M. E., & Domínguez‐Reyes, A. (2018). Breathing mode influence on craniofacial development and head posture. Jornal De Pediatria (Versão Em Português), 94(2), 123–130. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedp.2017.08.022

 

Ciuffolo, F., Manzoli, L., Ferritto, A. L., Tecco, S., Dattilio, M., & Festa, F. (2005). Surface electromyographic response of the neck muscles to maximal voluntary clenching of the teeth. Journal of Oral Rehabilitation, 32(2), 79–84. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2842.2004.01390.x

 

Giannakopoulos, N. N., Hellmann, D., Schmitter, M., Krüger, B., Hauser, T., & Schindler, H. J. (2013). Neuromuscular Interaction of Jaw and Neck Muscles During Jaw Clenching.Journal of Orofacial Pain, 27(1), 61–71. doi: 10.11607/jop.915

 

Kuroishi, R. C. S., Garcia, R. B., Valera, F. C. P., Anselmo-Lima, W. T., & Fukuda, M. T. H. (2014). Deficits in working memory, reading comprehension and arithmetic skills in children with mouth breathing syndrome: analytical cross-sectional study. Sao Paulo Medical Journal, 133(2), 78–83. doi: 10.1590/1516-3180.2013.7630011

 

Manfredini, D., Serra-Negra, J., Carboncini, F., & Lobbezoo, F. (2017). Current Concepts of Bruxism. The International Journal of Prosthodontics, 30(5), 437–438. doi: 10.11607/ijp.5210

 

Maurer, C., Stief, F., Jonas, A., Kovac, A., Groneberg, D. A., Meurer, A., & Ohlendorf, D. (2015). Influence of the Lower Jaw Position on the Running Pattern. Plos One, 10(8). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0135712

 

Maurer, C., Heller, S., Sure, J.-J., Fuchs, D., Mickel, C., Wanke, E. M., … Ohlendorf, D. (2018). Strength improvements through occlusal splints? The effects of different lower jaw positions on maximal isometric force production and performance in different jumping types. Plos One, 13(2). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0193540

 

Piancino, M. G., Dalmasso, P., Borello, F., Cinnella, P., Crincoli, V., Garagiola, U., … Deregibus, A. (2019). Thoracic-lumbar-sacral spine sagittal alignment and cranio-mandibular morphology in adolescents. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, 48, 169–175. doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2019.07.016

 

Uhlig, S. E., Marchesi, L. M., Duarte, H., & Araújo, M. T. M. (2015). Association between respiratory and postural adaptations and self-perception of school-aged children with mouth breathing in relation to their quality of life. Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy, 19(3), 201–210. doi: 10.1590/bjpt-rbf.2014.0087

Free Guide: How to Fix Rounded Shoulders 

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Did you know that you can’t actually control your posture?

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Free Guide: How to Fix Rounded Shoulders 

Download a copy of How to Improve your Posture right away by entering your email below:

Did you know that you can’t actually control your posture?

Step by step with scripts

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