An evolving understanding of the relationship between bite and movement disorders

Through many case histories of cerebral palsy patients, Parkinson’s patients, dystonia, tourettes, and autism patients- a general understanding is emerging which points to the conclusion that jaw misalignment is at the basis of most movement disorders.  That includes postural abnormalities (scoliosis, torticollis, etc.), repetitive movements, tremors, and self stimming behaviors.  The mechanisms are clear in the medical literature: 1)second order trigeminal neurons impacting reticular formation, 2) substance P modulation of movement, and 3) retruded jaw causing forward head posture which causes thoracic outlet entrapment of brain blood flow (based on research of Dr. Noda). A properly designed treatment is proving effective at reversing many of these conditions through alternative non-pharmaceutical means.

An example of this relationship  is the extensive Japanese research which has shown that anytime the bite is lowered on one side, it causes increased muscle tension on the opposite side of the body.  This leads to exhaustion, weakness and palsy on the hypertonic side of the body.  Not unlike many cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s, and torticollis patients.

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cp and tmj

The following article shows that the presence of spastic cerebral palsy increased the likelihood of TMJ signs and symptoms over nine fold!  You would think that the researchers would then ask the obvious question as to whether TMJ increases risk of cerebral palsy.  But they didn’t.  And no one has asked that until now.

Dr. Jennings

J Clin Pediatr Dent. 2011 Spring;35(3):259-63.

Prevalence and risk indicators of temporomandibular disorder signs and symptoms in a pediatric population with spastic cerebral palsy.


Department of Clinical Dentistry, Universidade Vale do Rio Verde – UNINCOR, Três Corações, MG, Brazil.



To determine risk indicators for signs and symptoms of temporomandibular disorders (TMD) in children with cerebral palsy (n = 60) and control subjects (n = 60).


The subjects were assessed by means of questionnaire and clinical exam: 1) signs and symptoms of TMD; 2) malocclusions [Dental Aesthetic Index (DAI)]; 3) harmful habits; and 4) bio-psychosocial characteristics. Statistical analysis involved the chi-square, Fisher’s exact tests (p < or = 0.05) and multivariate logistic regression (forward stepwise procedure). Variables that achieved a p-value < or = 0.20 were used as potential predictors of signs and symptoms of TMD and applied as co-variables in the multivariate analysis.


The prevalence of at least one sign and/or symptom of TMD in the present sample was 1.7% (n = 1) among the individuals in the control group and 13.3% (n = 8) among the individuals with cerebral palsy. The presence of cerebral palsy (Odds Ratio: 9.08; p = 0.041), male gender (OR: 6.21; p = 0.027), severity of the malocclusion (OR: 4.75; p = 0.031), mouth breathing (OR: 5.40; p = 0.022) and mixed dentition (OR: 4.73; p = 0.035) were identified as risk indicators for signs and symptoms of TMD.


It was concluded that children with cerebral palsy had a significantly greater chance of developing signs and symptoms of TMD.



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Welcome to our new website to illustrate the benefits of Jaw Orthopedics for the developmentally delayed.  We will be posting case histories and the scientific basis for the treatment provided.

Dr. Jennings

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