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Stand Up Straight for Better Oral Health

SlouchingYou may assume that the way you stand has absolutely nothing to do with your smile. However, if you are you troubled by frequent headaches and lower jaw pain, you may be suffering from temporomandibular (TMJ) disorder, which is a dental issue. According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) poor posture could have something to do with the chronic pain associated with TMD.

Poor Posture

Poor posture shifts the position of your spine which causes stress to your jaw joints (TMJs). When you slouch, your jaw actually moves forward and your skull shifts to put pressure on the spinal column. This causes misalignment of the upper and lower arches of teeth. This misalignment puts stress on your jawbone, joints, and the many muscles that support your mouth and jaw. This ultimately leads to chronic pain and jaw dysfunction.

Do I Have TMD?

TMJ disorder (TMD) is characterized by a cluster of the following symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Earache
  • Lockjaw
  • Inflammation on the side of the face
  • Discomfort when you open your mouth, chew, or speak
  • Aches or tenderness in your jaw, face, or ears
  • Shoulder pain
  • Neck pain
  • Clicking or poppingyou open and close your mouth

Ways to Improve Posture

If you are experiencing the discomfort of TMD  and you notice that you have poor posture, there are some efforts you can make to improve the way you stand for better jaw comfort. Try changing standing and sitting positions frequently when your muscles start to tire.Take a few minutes to get up and move around if you sit for a great majority of the day. Choose comfortable shoes which encourage the alignment of your entire body. Fashion shouldn’t hurt. Certain shoes (such as toning and training shoes) are specifically angled to help improve your posture. It’s best to make a habit of being cognizant of your posture and noting triggers for slouching. Exercise (especially focusing on a strong core) will promotes good posture without even having to try. Many people swear by yoga for this purpose, as well as general spine alignment. It’s certainly worth a try.

Visit your Des Moines Dentist

If you are experiencing the symptoms of TMJ disorder, we recommend that you come in for a dental exam with Dr. Jessica Johnson, so that she can discuss possible treatment options with you. To schedule your visit at Valley Ridge Family Dental, contact our West Des Moines dentist office at (515) 223-9764. We serve West Des Moines, Waukeen, Clive, Urbandale, and the surrounding Des Moines metro communities.


MapValley Ridge Family Dental
6150 Village View Drive, #109,
West Des Moines, IA, 50266
Phone: 515.223.9764
After-hours emergency: 515.423.0445
Fax: 515.327.6230

Office Hours

Monday: 8 am-5 pm
Tuesday: closed
Wednesday: 8 am-5 pm
Thursday: 7:30 am- 1:30 pm
Friday: 7:30 am-4:30 pm