We often don’t think about our mouths affecting the rest of our bodies. Sure, we use our mouths to eat, which fuels the body, but beyond that, many of us probably don’t realize how closely connected our mouths and oral health are tied together.
For example, poor oral health can cause gum disease, which can cause problems throughout the body such as diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and more. Sleep apnea can contribute to all of these problems as well as contribute to stroke, dementia, and depression. None of these are considered problems of the mouth, but sleep apnea and gum disease occur in the mouth and reverberate throughout the body.
Another condition that may worsen with oral health issues is our eyesight. Eyesight can surprisingly be affected by temporomandibular joint dysfunction, a condition wherein the temporomandibular joint of the jaw becomes misaligned from the skull, causing pain and stiffness. But that pain isn’t just localized to the temporomandibular joint, either. It can radiate, causing neck, back, and head pain.
Somewhat surprisingly, temporomandibular joint dysfunction pain may also cause vision changes, too.
The first cause of this may be migraine headaches. Migraine headaches occur when the trigeminal nerve becomes irritated and reacts to outside stimuli. Migraines can include ‘aura,’ can cause nausea, and can make it difficult to see. Because of the proximity of the trigeminal nerve to the temporomandibular joint, the temporomandibular joint can irritate the trigeminal nerve and trigger a migraine.
Another vision problem that may be caused by temporomandibular joint dysfunction is a condition called strabismus, which occurs when the eye turns either inward or outward. Strabismus can be genetic or it can be caused by an injury or trauma, such as temporomandibular joint dysfunction.
Thankfully, temporomandibular joint dysfunction is very treatable and by treating the problem at its source, you may be able to reduce the instance of vision changes due to this condition. If you do notice changes in your daily vision, please seek help from your optometrist to rule out any other possible conditions. To address your temporomandibular joint dysfunction, speak to Dr. Abelar about your treatment options.