How Should Teeth Rest?

How Should Teeth Rest?

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  • Post category:Blog
  • Post last modified:14 January 2022
  • Reading time:3 mins read

Any time we’re not actively using our mouths to speak or talk, then it should be at rest. This also means the teeth should be resting too. But how should teeth rest in reality?

What does it mean for teeth to be resting?

Your teeth are part of your mouth which means when your mouth is resting and inactive, your teeth should be resting too.

They’re not chewing on anything, they’re not clenching or being used to speak.

Enabling teeth to rest in the appropriate manner is important for your oral health in several different ways.

Resting teeth means they are sitting dormant and it also means they’re not interacting with anything else like food, your tongue, or each other.

The standard resting position has the teeth not touching each other; when the mouth is closed the teeth are slightly apart.

Resting position for teeth

There are 3 main characteristics which we can use to describe the resting position for teeth.

1.      Lips together

Lips should be touching closed, not forced together. The muscles should be relaxed, not pushing together with effort.

2.      Tongue behind teeth

Your tongue should sit behind the top front teeth, and also touch the roof of your mouth in the standard resting position.

3.      Teeth apart

The teeth should be slightly apart and the muscles of the jaw are relaxed.

Why is it important for teeth to rest?

Enabling teeth to rest in the appropriate manner is important for your oral health in several different ways.

For example, if you’re unable to allow your teeth to rest in the appropriate manner, the mouth does not close automatically because the muscle is not acting in the usual way. This can cause breathing through the mouth which can lead to gum disease.

Another example is if the tongue does not automatically rest behind the top teeth causing the tongue to push forward against the teeth. This forward pressure can result in teeth becoming misaligned.

TMJ Diagram

If your jaw is part of the problem then it could mean that you’re using your jaw muscles to work harder and more frequently which will have an impact on your ability to sleep, eat and speak.

You may likely experience headaches, earaches and jaw pain caused by the jaw muscles being strained and overused; a conditioned called TMJ, Temporomandibular Joint Disorder.

What do you do if your teeth can’t rest?

If you suspect that an issue with your teeth or jaw are preventing your teeth from resting in a natural position, then the first step is to speak with an orthodontist.

The orthodontist will be able to assess your teeth and understand exactly the cause of the problem, and then formulate a plan to fix it.


If your teeth aren’t able to achieve a natural resting position because they are poorly aligned then you’ll likely experience ongoing oral health issues as well as a variety of other health issues which can become a bigger problem over time.

Book an appointment with a specialist orthodontist to find out exactly what’s going on, and how to correct the problem.