One of the foundational concepts of biological dentistry is the awareness of relationships between the teeth, gums and other oral tissues and the rest of the body. On one level, this is just common sense: after all, your mouth is physically connected to the rest of you. Yet even today, many dentists continue to treat the mouth in isolation, as if what happens there has no impact on the rest of the body. Happily, though, many more are finally beginning appreciate the relationships between oral health and systemic health – for instance, the connections between heart disease and gum disease.
But there is a deeper relationship, as well, and it stems from the influence of Traditional Chinese Medicine and its concept of the body’s meridians. Generally speaking, these are the channels along which qi (chi) – psychophysical energy – flows through the body. As shown in charts such as the one below (full size version available here), each meridian runs through any number of body structures and organs. If there are blockages or disruptions in any given meridian, dysfunction can occur in any organ or structure located on that meridian. Thus, it’s not uncommon to find that, for instance, people with problems in their first premolar may have gastrointestinal problems, as well, since that tooth lies on the same meridian as the large intestine and stomach.
Recently, we stumbled upon a neat tool at Talk International’s site: an interactive meridian tooth chart. Click on any one of the teeth, and you can see the corresponding organs, glands, joints, spinal cord segments and other relationships between the teeth and body. You can also select an organ or system and learn which teeth are associated with it.
And to learn more about your body’s meridians, check out this video.