It's true that your oral health and your bodily health are connected. For example, the American Diabetes Association points out that individuals with diabetes may have a greater risk of developing gum disease. But some people believe they can trace a direct connection between something such as a stomachache or knee pain and a problem with a specific tooth by using a meridian tooth chart.
If you want to discover the source of a health problem, can one of these charts help? So far, no scientific research has validated the claims made by the charts. Learn more about the ancient meridian system and how you can keep your mouth and body healthy.
What Is the Meridian System?
The meridian system comes from ancient Chinese medicine. As the National Cancer Institute describes, meridians are channels thought to travel across and throughout the body. Energy, known in this system as qi, flows through the channels or meridians. It is thought that if a channel becomes blocked, qi can't flow and pain or illness occurs.
Traditional medicine practitioners claim they can help unblock a person's qi through the use of heat, pressure, suction and needles on various points along the meridians. However, you should not try any of these techniques without first discussing it with your regular healthcare provider and dentist.
All About Meridian Tooth Charts
A meridian tooth chart takes the concept of the meridian system and applies it to the mouth. While the meridian system is ancient, it's unclear who created the first tooth chart. One study, published in SAGE Open, used a chart created by holistic dentists in 2011. Though there are many versions of meridian tooth charts, they all connect a particular tooth, such as the first incisor, to multiple glands, organs, muscles, joints or areas of the spine. The charts also often describe other relationships a particular tooth can have, such as contributing to feelings of fear and sadness or creating an emotional imbalance.
Although the exact formats of the charts vary, they generally feature an image of all 32 teeth (including the wisdom teeth) in an adult's mouth. The teeth are numbered one to 32. Next to the tooth appears a list or picture of the various organs and body parts connected to it. Some online charts are interactive and will pull up a list of the relevant body areas and organs when you click on different teeth.
Looking at a meridian tooth chart might be a fun way to while away an afternoon online, but it's not a good idea to put too much stock into the information you find on one. The American Dental Association only stands by dental practices that have been scientifically validated and proven safe. When it comes to tooth charts, there is no scientific evidence proving that, for instance, having a cavity in one of your molars will cause knee pain or pancreatitis.
The Proven Connection Between Your Mouth and Body
While the meridian system has not been proven by science, there is scientific evidence that suggests that your oral health influences your overall health in other ways. For example, the Mayo Clinic points out that poor oral health may contribute to other conditions, including those affecting the heart. So establishing a good oral care regimen of daily flossing and twice-daily tooth brushing can only do good for your mouth and body.
If you're concerned about the health of your mouth or want to determine the cause of a health problem, talk to your dentist. They can show you how to care for your teeth at home and can refer you to another medical professional to investigate any other health issues.