Cranio facial Orthopaedics & Orthodontics™
The key to achieving Cranio Dental and Skeletal Symmetry™ and full body health.
July 21, 2020

A hidden epidemic of shrinking jaws is behind many orthodontic and health issues, Stanford researchers say

The shrinking of the human jaw in modern humans is not due to genetics but is a lifestyle disease that can be proactively addressed, according to Stanford researchers

By Adam Hadhazy

For many of us, orthodontic work – getting fitted with braces, wearing retainers – was just a late-childhood rite of passage. The same went for the pulling of wisdom teeth in early adulthood. Other common conditions, including jaw pain and obstructed sleep apnea – when slack throat muscles interrupt breathing during rest – also just seem like par for the course.

A new study says that parents and caregivers can take steps to promote proper mouth, jawbone and facial musculature development in children to help stave off future health burdens and chronic conditions.

The broader scientific community has largely deemed the underlying abnormality behind these problems as hereditary and untreatable, and opted to deal with symptoms through medical devices and after-the-fact interventions.

But in a new study, Stanford researchers and colleagues argue that all these issues and more are actually relatively new problems afflicting modern humans and can be traced to a shrinking of our jaws. Moreover, they maintain that this “jaws epidemic” is not primarily genetic in origin, as previously thought, but rather a lifestyle disease. That means the epidemic is largely the result of human practices and akin to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

The study – published in the journal BioScience – marshals the growing evidence from studies conducted around the world surrounding the jaws epidemic, as well as how to address it proactively. Parents and caregivers can take steps to promote proper mouth, jawbone and facial musculature development in children, the study advises, to help stave off future health burdens and chronic conditions.

“The jaws epidemic is very serious, but the good news is, we can actually do something about it,” said Paul Ehrlich, the Bing Professor of Population Studies, Emeritus, at Stanford and one of the study’s authors.

Please read more at Stanford News

How do the jaws and cranium relate to the rest of the body?

The cranium is the main part of the skull, made up of some 27 different bones. The places where these bones join are called sutures. Attached to the cranium is the facial skeleton, including the TMJ (Temporo Mandibular Joint), which is located at the point where the lower jaw meets the temporal bone, just in front Jaw jointof the ear. Distortions of this joint because of dental abnormalities and various interferences often lead to what is known as TMJ disorder or Temporo Mandibular Joint Dysfunction. Experience has shown that this disorder is responsible for perhaps some 40 different medical symptoms. Please see our blog for very many topics on all kinds of symptoms emanating from the asymmetry of the jaw joint.

Our head is very finely balanced on our neck vertebrae. The first vertebra to accept this weight is called the ATLAS. The symmetry of this vertebrae appears not only to get affected by dental abnormalities but the Atlas may have inherent asymmetries of its own through trauma or mishaps during the birth process. Its asymmetry affects the Hypoglossal nerve which emanates from the skull just above this vertebra.

The Hypoglossal nerve supplies motor function to the tongue which is instrumental for the swallowing reflex. Any disturbance to the fibres of the Hypoglossal nerve through the asymmetry of the Atlas and in turn the asymmetry of the Occipital Condyles which house the canal for the Hypoglossal nerve would obviously affect the swallowing pattern which in turn would cause the dental arches to not develop optimally. This would tend to cause all kinds of malocclusions and jaw size discrepancies. No wonder children are often unwell right from the start.

Any asymmetries in the teeth and jaws affect not only the Atlas but also the rest of the neck vertebrae causing them to compensate by rotation and deviation which would lead to neck and shoulder pain. Distortions in the neck region are compensated by opposite distortions in the lower spine and a rotation of the hip bones which produces the short leg phenomenon as often pointed out by Osteopaths and Chiropractors. Pain anywhere along the line is often the consequence. This happens because the nerves emanating from the spine often get pinched or have been neurologically hyperactive to try and correc the asymmetries but end up stimulating the muscles endlesssly.

Disturbances in the jaw region cause postural problems. A small jaw causes the head to stoop forward and the rest of the spine compensates accordingly by increases in cervical and lower back curvatures.

The TMJ is unique in the body in that it is often subject to external stresses from human intervention. For example, traditional orthodontic practice – where healthy teeth are often removed unnecessarily – can radically alter the overall shape and natural position of the jaws. The extraction of wisdom teeth can also seriously harm the harmony of the face and lead to very serious ill health.

Additional stresses that can also affect the overall balance of the jaws and cranial bones include trauma to the neck and cranial region such as whiplash injuries and birth trauma.

Why is cranial and skeletal symmetry so important? The brain and spinal cord together form the central nervous system, which acts as a central computer, receiving and processing vital information from the rest of the body. The spinal column also carries nerves that form part of the autonomic nervous system - the sympathetic chain, which has numerous branches throughout the body, carrying essential nerve impulses to organs such as the skin, digestive system, heart, lungs and reproductive organs.

Roger PerryRoger Sperry who won the Nobel Prize for brain research in 1981 states that: "More than 90% of the energy output of the brain is used in relating to the physical body in its gravitational field. The more mechanically distorted a person is the less energy available for thinking, metabolism and healing."

I often use the term "hanging by the skin of your teeth". It appears that the difference in health and sickness is as fine as the thickness of a piece of paper. This we have experienced repeatedly and very minute changes can take a person into sickness or health.

60% of the sensory input to the brain is from the Trigeminal nerve which supplies the head, jaws and teeth. Any problem in this region floods the brain with messages saying that 'there is something wrong'. The brain responds by firing impulses to various muscles around the jaws to correct the asymmetries but in the presence of any asymmetric hard bony and tooth structures it fails to correct the asymmetries. Grinding and clenching teeth, especially at night, is the consequence.

Another important effect of an asymmetric jaw is the effect on the nerve supply to the diaphragm – impaired function of this muscle can lessen optimum breathing capacity, with a knock-on effect on numerous bodily processes.

The brain and spinal cord are also surrounded by a clear liquid called the cerebro spinal fluid (CSF), that protects and cushions the nervous tissue, and assists in carrying toxins away from the brain. Obstruction or distortions to these systems, such as that caused by spinal, cranial or jaw misalignment together with poor diaphragmatic function, can affect the flow of the cerebro spinal fluid (CSF) to the brain. Any imbalance in the jaw or cranial region can therefore have a major effect on the rest of the body, causing a whole range of symptoms, which modern medicine is often unable to explain or treat effectively.

Drugs are rarely the answer and yet millions of prescriptions are written out everyday to pretend the resolution of pain and other functional disturbances in the body. These are futile attempts as physical disturbances need physical treatment. The drugs mask the underlying symptoms which continue to worsen daily, leading to conglomerations of symptoms such as found in 'Chronic Fatigue Syndrome' and 'Multiple Sclerosis'. This makes patients almost untreatable as by the time the patient reaches the dentist the damage to the body is often well advanced.

The doctors keep the pretence up by running in circles trying to do all kinds of futile tests as many must have experienced and then naming illnesses by a process of exclusion into various syndromes.

How does the treatment work? Cranio-dental & Skeletal Symmetry™ seeks to bring balance to the teeth, jaws and body, thus dramatically improving unresolved symptoms, by adjusting the teeth and jaws using especially tailored means of diagnosis and orthodontic treatment. The teeth are the anchor where forces can be applied to bring about jaw joint and body symmetry.

Traditionally, dental patients are often told they have 'too many' teeth for the size of their mouths, and that extractions are necessary to ease 'crowding' – when in fact, the jaw should be expanded to accommodate all the teeth – think about it, why would nature give us too many teeth when the rest of you may be a picture of perfection!

The average size of the jaws of Western man has decreased over recent centuries, most likely due to radical changes in diet and possibly also as a side effect of widespread pollution. It has absolutely nothing to do with genetics. Rather than making the jaws even smaller by extracting teeth, it is far better to expand them, preserving all of the healthy teeth, and bringing the entire craniofacial structure into balance.

Where teeth have already been extracted, or other dental treatments undertaken, it becomes vital that the jaw is restored to its natural shape and position in order to bring about significant health changes.

Which symptoms may benefit from this approach? Dramatic improvements in health, often with a complete resolution of many symptoms, have been reported by patients who had been previously diagnosed  with various conditions, diseases or illnesses.  Throughout this web site there are testimonials from patients who describe how they benefited from my treatment:  You can see them on our Blog and Google reviews.

What does the treatment involve? An initial appointment will consist of an analysis and evaluation of symptoms, along with a comprehensive oral examination, and note of medical, dental and orthodontic history. The patients have to complete an extensive online questionnaire before the appointment. The cause and possible treatment will be discussed with the patient. after which the patient can go away and get second opinions and discuss and ponder over the treatment before returning for further assessment.

Our bodies respond extremely rapidly to the correct treatment. Patients usually notice some benefit within a few weeks of starting treatment, often within hours of fitting the first appliance. Particular care is taken of nervous or apprehensive patients, and appliances are adjusted to be comfortable and cosmetically unobtrusive.

Osteopaths, chiropractic and other alternative practitioners often refer their difficult-to-treat patients, and along with the numerous health benefits, many patients find a pleasing improvement to facial profile, as the jaw and cranium are brought into a more natural alignment. Cranio-dental & Skeletal Symmetry™ aims to restore balance to bodily systems, bringing about an improvement in health and well-being. Where can I find out more? You can gain a lot more knowledge by visiting the Blog, the testimonial pages and a lot more resources on this website.