February 2020

The Influence of Dental Occlusion on Dynamic Balance and Muscular Tone

Authors: Sonia Julià-Sánchez 1, Jesús Álvarez-Herms 1, Rafel Cirer-Sastre 2, Francisco Corbi 2, Martin Burtscher 3

Institution(s): 1 Faculty of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, European University, Madrid, Spain; 2 Institut Nacional d’Educació Física de Catalunya, Universitat de Lleida, Spain; 3 Department of Sport Science, University of Innsbruck, Austria

Journal: Frontiers in Physiology - January 2020 | Volume 10 | Article 1626 (DOI: 10.3389/fphys.2019.01626)

Excellent postural control is essential to improve the physical performance of athletes. Stability of the body during motor tasks depends on different physiological systems. The influence of dental occlusion on body balance has been widely investigated in the past few years. It has been suggested that this relationship is strengthened by disturbing environments for balance control (i.e., unstable platform, fatigue, development tasks.). Moreover, dental occlusion may influence the muscle tone of both masticatory and postural muscles, which are involved in the preservation of balance.

Therefore, we attempted to determine whether (i) there are differences in dynamic balance assessed by the modified star excursion balance test between opposed dental occlusion conditions (dental contact: intercuspal position/no dental contact: cotton rolls mandibular position) and (ii) dental occlusion influences the biomechanical and viscoelastic properties of the masticatory and postural muscles assessed with MyotonPRO.

Thirty physically active subjects were recruited for the study.

The main findings were the following: (i) the Star Excursion Balance Test composite score was significantly higher for measurements made in cotton rolls mandibular position (p < 0.001) and also in subjects showing a correct occlusion (p = 0.04), and (ii) the biomechanical and viscolelastical properties of selected muscles showed different trend according to the presence of malocclusal traits. It is concluded that dental occlusion conditioned both dynamic stability and the biomechanical and viscoelastic properties of the analyzed muscles.

Keywords: dental occlusion, dental occlusion balanced, dynamic balance, postural control, muscle properties, Myoton

Although without irrefutable evidences of a non-specific effect, dental occlusion likely conditioned dynamic balance. In addition, dental occlusion seems differently to influence the biomechanical and viscoelastic properties depending on the muscle group analyzed and the presence of specific malocclusal traits. These findings will provide a basis for further studies examining skeletal muscle activity according to dental occlusion status.