articulation for athletes
It’s a well known fact that occlusion
and the general health condition of the body are closely
related, but actually how is this so? The most important
role of the teeth is to support the body as a whole, as
well as to chew food and speak properly. This function
of overall support is significantly related to sports
Occlusion affects muscles and bones considerably.
If there is a problem with occlusion, muscles are affected
first. Chewing in the wrong manner over an extended period,
for example, puts excessive force on the muscles around the
jaws. Consequently, bones and muscles in the neck that are
connected to jaw muscles are affected resulting in pain extending
from the neck, arms and shoulders to the back. If the jawbones
and joints are in the wrong position, it affects the spine,
the pelvis and eventually the whole body. A tiny micron of
distortion of one tooth could affect the spine to such a degree
that an athlete wouldn’t be able to fully show his or her
||In US Major League Baseball,
adjusting occlusion is actually included in players’ contracts.
In fact, the New York Yankees required Hideki Matsui to
have dental treatment before joining them. However, in
Japan the importance of occlusion and its effects in the
sports field is not fully acknowledged.
The following are examples of several athletes
improving their results or getting out of slumps by having
Yamanashi Gakuin University, which is one of the regular participants
of the Hakone Ekiden – a popular annual marathon relay race
in Japan, had a run of three consecutive wins from 1990 to
1992, but it had been hovering around ninth place three years
in a row until last year. After giving dental treatments to
their runners, they achieved much improved results, winning
in the Izumo Ekiden and coming second place in the Zen Nippon
Ekiden last year, and second place in the Hakone Ekiden this
year (breaking the first stage record).
It is highly reasonable to conclude that the treatments affected
their sports performances due to the corresponding period
of the treatments and the improved race results.
A professional 5,000-meter runner had been
suffering from lower back pain for 2 years and had tried almost
all treatments which he could think of including orthopedic
treatments and acupuncture. But, the pain did not improve
and his results were 90 seconds more than his personal best.
After three treatments to adjust occlusion, he lowered his
time by 60 seconds and the lower back pain improved markedly.
Wearing a mouthpiece called a splint is well known as an occlusion
treatment among athletes, but treating occlusion is not as
simple as it looks. As occlusion varies from person to person,
wearing a mouthpiece doesn’t work for all athletes. Moreover,
it is possible to have an affect in a negative way. Additionally,
shaving one tooth by 1 micron could result in distortion of
Recent research has found that even materials used in dental
fillings and crowns can affect flexibility of the body or
sense of balance considerably.
As this technique is cutting edge, there are few dental practitioners
who adjust occlusion while considering the effects it has
on the body as a whole. However, having a specialist check
occlusion and relating it to other health issues, can lead
to more productive training and achievements as an athlete.
Several years ago, it was said that “teeth are essential to
the lives of entertainers” but also “teeth are essential to
the lives of runners”.
The following is a link to comments made by a marathon runner
who got out of a long slump by having dental treatment.