The jaw, essential in how the weight of our body is distributed, performs more functions than any other muscle we are aware of
The way we chew influences our risk of injury while doing sports
Our body is connected to each other. The stomach is related to the brain, the intestine with our emotions and our muscles are all related, as if it were a chain. Starting from this base, it is not so complicated to understand that our jaw may have to do with maintaining the rest of our body.
That is why, although at first glance it seems a bit strange, the way we chew food can influence us more easily – or not – to injure us when it comes to sports. The orthodontist specializing in Posturology Eider Unamuno explains the reason: “When we eat there are many muscles involved that we move. If we only chew on one side, those muscles train more, and therefore we get a part of our body to be more contracted.
The expert comments on the incidence that these chewing habits can have on the rest of our body. Thus, he explains that the muscles we use to move the jaw have a relationship with the sternum, clavicle, scapulae or spine. Therefore, the fascia that covers these bones, which “could be compared with a transparent film, which is used to wrap all the muscles”, means that if, for example, it is chewed on the right side, those muscles “are more contracted, and therefore it is easier for them to contracture themselves ».
We must train our jaw by eating foods such as apples or nuts
We must train our jaws by eating foods such as apples or nuts – Unsplash
On the contrary, if we talk about our muscles from the waist down, it is the opposite of those of the predominant chewing side that are most prone to injuries, since «being the other side of our body higher, it is in this that falls all the weight ».
A dentist for athletes
But, although we can all be affected by this, it is the athletes who must take special care and take care of the way they use their jaw. «The cases of injuries are first difficult to relate to the mouth. Athletes and their trainers do not usually do it, but when they are repetitive injuries, for example first the ankle, then the knee, always the same limb, and you do not see a cause a priori that justifies it, it is when you start looking for other solutions , and sometimes the origin is in the mouth, ”says Eider Unamuno.
The expert defends the figure of a dentist specialized in improving sports performance. «There are no studies specializing in sports dentistry, but it is something that is increasingly looked at. Athletes are aware and dentists see the need to learn and research more, ”explains Unamuno.
“When the jaw is large, the body has to compensate for this, so that the weight of the head is distributed differently in the spine,” says the professional. That is why, when our mouth is poorly positioned, forward, or to the side, that generates anomalous information, and our body must compensate, thus making it much more prone to injury. «Although it sounds a bit weird, there are children who are brilliant athletes, but who put on a dental appliance and lose” that spark “that made them different and that is because the body has not managed to manage the change of its jaw in a short time» , tells Eider Unamuno.
They train our jaw
To avoid this decompensation, we need to “train” both sides of the jaw equally. The orthodontist expert explains that, although there are no official studies, more than 50% of the population chews only on one side. “We get a tooth decay, or a wisdom tooth hurts, we get an implant and we don’t want to chew on that side … the reasons can be many,” he says.
Eider Unamuno always recommends being aware of our chewing and forcing us to eat on both sides. Also, he advises eating “hard” foods: apples, meats, nuts … foods that force us to move our jaw and tire our muscles.
Exercise Fitness Odontology Sports