How Your Teeth Affect Your Muscles
There are hundreds of muscles in your body, each with a specific job, but none of them works completely alone. They always work as a team. When some members of the team are strained or out of position, they will get additional assistance from other muscles, in a process known as muscle recruitment.
When the position of your jaw changes due to changes in your teeth, such as wear, damage, decay, tooth loss, or poor dental work, the muscles that work your jaw can be put out of place, part of the condition we describe as TMJ. These muscles partner with muscles in your head, face, and neck, so strain on your jaw muscles gets passed to the partners, every time you smile, swallow, talk, bite, or chew, causing soreness and pain.
When muscles in your neck are recruited to help balance your jaw, they can pull your cervical vertebrae out of alignment. Your spine is like a tower of blocks, and when some are out of alignment, others have to be put out of alignment to maintain balance, which transmits the effects of TMJ down through the body, causing muscle soreness as well as pinched nerves that can lead to tingling or numbness in your fingers.