Acupuncture practitioners follow a tooth chart of meridians to help their practice. As such, you can use teeth to diagnose and treat the body part to which they are connected. For example, the lower central and lateral incisors are on a meridian connected to the adrenal glands. Hence, sensitivity or pain in these teeth may indicate an imbalance in adrenal function.
Meridians and Teeth
Your teeth correspond to specific organs and systems. You can find an interactive chart here.
Chi goes in both directions: injured teeth can be a symptom of problems in a faraway body part. A root canal in your second bicuspid (tooth 4) may, therefore, affect breast or lung tissue.
Sometimes people experience pain in a tooth that was extracted in the past—known as “phantom pain”. This experience may be the most illustrative of the connection between the teeth and other body parts along meridians: a tooth that is no longer there cannot possibly be causing pain. The organ to which it used to be connected, however, may be the source of your discomfort.
What Studies Are Saying
Many health practitioners believe that there is a connection between oral health and the well-being of the body as a whole.
A 2009 study reported in the journal Dental Aegis reviewed “a new paradigm in dentistry called ‘teeth as sensory organs’”. Mechanoreceptors in teeth control a sequence of neural activities when we eat. They determine how hard and how fast we chew and provide sensory feedback to the brain. Tooth pulp contains mechanoreceptive fibers.
“Mechanoreception is the unconscious sensing or conscious perception of touch or mechanical displacement arising from stimuli outside the body. Mechanoreceptors are sensory end organs that respond to mechanical stimuli such as tension, pressure, or vibration.” (1)
Teeth are therefore not inert but important for neural communication, providing unique sensory input that incites other biological processes.
A Finnish study isolated the genes that are responsible for tooth development and found that these same genes are responsible for the development of other organs. In the context of cellular growth and differentiation, genes involved in organ development are an indicator for the potential for cancer later in life. In fact, there is a link between abnormal tooth development and cancer. (2) Researchers have even documented a relationship between bacteria in dental pulp and the formation of breast cancer. Similarly, chronic dental infections contribute to cardiovascular disease, stroke, and erectile dysfunction. (3)