A group of theoretical researchers in Istanbul has proposed a novel theory about how long we live, and that one of the primary determiners of our lifespan is how efficiently body systems, such as the jaw, operate.
The Concept of Entropy
The theory researchers propose is that, essentially, all organism die because of entropy built up in their system. Entropy is a concept from the second law of thermodynamics, which states that the entropy of any isolated and closed system almost always increases and never decreases. Entropy is a measure of the order in the system, essentially based on the ability of that system to do work. For example, hot air compressed in a boiler has lower entropy than when that air is released. The compressed air can be focused to perform work, whereas the released air cannot.
Basically, whenever energy is used to do work of any type, some of that energy becomes unusable for future work.
A flip way to express the three laws of thermodynamics is: You can’t win, you can’t break even, and you can’t quit playing.
Entropy in Your Jaw
Entropy can also be used to describe the state of order in a physical system like the jaw. Initially, the jaw is in an ordered state of bones and cartilage and ligaments, but as the jaw moves, it breaks down. Wear on the jaw joints causes the cartilage to break down. Ligaments become stretched and displaced. Bones eventually develop wear and break.
Although the body attempts to repair this damage, and it exports some of the entropy through waste, entropy is retained in the system in the form of replication errors in your DNA that cause your cells to show their age and function less efficiently. Sometimes errors in the DNA cause your cells to “go rogue,” what we call cancer, but there are many types of dysfunction that can contribute to a buildup of entropy in the body that ultimately causes the body to stop functioning, what we call a death by natural causes.
Will You Live Longer with a More Efficient Bite?
It’s important to remember that this is just a theoretical model for the way aging of the body works. But it does remind us that the body is completely connected, and dysfunction in one part of the body leads to a cumulative burden that the entire body must carry. When your jaw muscles are inefficient, they eat up resources that could be used elsewhere, and pass stress on to neck, shoulder and back muscles. When your jawbone needs constant repair, there may be other bones that are not getting the repair they need.
We can’t say categorically that TMJ treatment will extend your life, but it won’t hurt, either.