Apr 21, 2009
After the last two blogs, a number of people had asked me about the connection of TMD and Sleep Apnea, and even the origins of these issues. I am sure that many more had the same question in mind but did not ask. After all what is a dentist doing speaking about sleep apnea and snoring.
In my previous blogs, you may have noticed how I have mentioned the fact that our dental arches (Upper and Lower Teeth) have been moving back. We have obseved this phenomenae now for the past 250-300 years, and it is well documented in orthodontic research.
Dr. Weston Price, a dentist in the 1930's from Cleveland, Ohio, noticed these issues first, some 70 years ago. He was a true genius. You see, unlike most who will immediately go into fixup mode, he asked the question, "What is the underlying cuase of all the malocclusion and dengeneration?" A question that to this day has not been addressed properly. Unfortunately, the bulk of his work and research has gone unnoticed for the most part. As a dentist, I can tell you that his work or name were never mentioned at all in dental school. A true travesty.
Whether it is blaten ignorance or systematic cover up the results are the same. We have turned into a culture of quick fixes. The direction of modern medicine and dentistry has been mostly in dealing and hiding symptoms rather than dealing with the source of ailments. There is a fill for everything, from blood pressure and cholesterol to headaches. If we break a tooth we just cover it or if one grinds we make them a nightguard, never asking the right question. Why things go to where they got??
Dr Price asked the right question. He set out on a journey that took him to several countries where he studied some fourteen different indigenous populations. From Africian tribes to Eskimos in Alaska, to Polynesian Islands and Swiss Alps.
The first thing he noticed was that the farther he got from civilization the less decay he encountered. However, he also observed well developed facial features such as nostrils, straight teeth, well developed wide dental arches, healthy bodies and resistance to diseases. The depth of his findings are much too deep to be explained in a in a simple blog. I highly recommend reading his book "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration." It is Timeless.
So, what is the connection of his findings to our subject specifically? Well, it turns out that those well developed nostrils he noted in his writings have everything to do with what we see today. Our bodies reaction what he termed "Western Diet" alongside an arguably good dose of environmental pollution, has made it very difficult for most of us to be nose breathers. We all have differing degrees of histaminic reactions to these substances, which make us more of a mouth breather.
How does this effect our development?? To properly develop our dental arch form, there must be a balance between muscles. Muscles of facial expression from the outside and our tongue from the inside. However, when one breathes more from the mouth than nose, we effectively take the tongue out of this equation and create the imbalance during our developmental years between ages 2-9, when most facial development is happening this lack of nasal breathing, or upper airway problem will tip the balance off and the only effective force on one upper dental arch is the external forces of muscles of facial expression which will push the upper arch back and narrows it. In response to this, our lower arch will have to take a more posteriorized position and match the narrow upper arch. All of these will result in encroachment on the tongue space, which by now has pushed into our pharyngeal airway, also our muscles of masticiation will end up working a different trajectory of function. This latter is perhaps responsible for most recurrent headaches and sysmtoms.
So now you should have a picture in your mind of what we are dealing with. I hope that in some small way I have been able to shed some light on the possible origins of these conditions. This, by no means, is to indicate that these are the only reasons, as there are several other factors that can be at work concurrently.
What seems to be the constant , is the role of our diet in all these ailments.
To your health.