You may not have known this, but Dr. Hill met his wife in college in Shreveport, Louisiana, singing in the choir. In fact, he’s still a choir singer with his church today! As a singer, he knows it’s important to not just warm up your vocal chords properly before singing, but also to take excellent care of your oral health. Why? Because, believe it or not, caring for your oral health can deeply affect your singing voice. Here’s how.
If you have untreated TMJ disorder (or TMD) you may experience everything from headaches to neck pain to jaw pain and jaw tightness. This is because when you have a TMJ disorder, the movement of the temporomandibular joint is restricted. As a result, your singing voice may be held back from reaching its full range. If hitting a particular note requires you to open your mouth wider than normal, TMD could prove to be roadblock. Pain in the larynx or neck could also prevent the larynx from moving freely, limiting vocal range. TMD can also make it harder to take in big breaths, another skill needed for singing.
You’ve probably heard that classic Spike Jones Christmas song "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth," where every time the singer says "teeth," a whistling noise comes out. Of course, in reality missing your two front teeth would probably not cause you to whistle each time you tried to pronounce the word "teeth," but missing teeth could have an effect on your singing voice, because your teeth act as a barrier for your tongue. Without that barrier, some words may be mispronounced.
Another problem that is more psychological than physical: If you are singing in a choir and are missing teeth, it could shake your confidence enough to change how you sing. How? Well, think of it this way: Say you are in the front row of your choir, and are also missing your top front tooth. If you are at all self-conscious, you may try to compensate for that missing tooth by either keeping your lips as closed as possible while you sing – thus limiting your volume and vocal range – or maybe by hiding behind your sheet music, so your voice doesn’t project as far into the audience. Either way, your performance isn’t what it could be.
You don’t need to have a TMJ disorder to experience tooth or gum pain. A cavity, abscess or periodontal infection can cause a lot of pain in your mouth, limiting your ability and desire to open your mouth and sing to your full capacity.
No, bad breath probably won’t change your singing voice, but it can definitely hurt your self-confidence and make you less likely to belt out those high notes. It can also make your co-singers want to keep their distance from you, and make it harder to harmonize or cause unnecessary distractions.
So, what can you do if you have any of these problems and still want to sing? The first step is speaking to Dr. Hill. No matter what challenges you may be facing, we can help develop a treatment plan that restores your smile, your confidence and, yes, even your singing voice.
To set up an appointment with Dr. Hill, give Hill Dental Studio a call at 469-640-9550.