When problems with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) arise, it can cause pain and discomfort in the jaw, so it’s important to prevent TMJ problems.
Learning how to help prevent this pain can make all the difference – as the old adage says, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Here are six easy tips to help prevent pain associated with TMJ.
- Destress – Stress is one of the leading causes of TMJ pain. Often people who have high stress clench the jaw or grind the teeth frequently, which inherently causes problems with the jaw and the TMJ. Finding ways to limit stress in your life can significantly reduce your risk of developing issues with TMJ. Take a long, soothing bath. Go out for a walk or do some yoga. Get a massage. Try mediation. Find ways to allow yourself to relax and let go of some of the stress of your everyday life.
- Limit Chewing Gum – Excessively chewing gum puts a lot of extra stress on your jaw and the temporomandibular joint. Give your jaw a break whenever possible, and swap the gum for a mint. Additionally, limit taffy and other chewy candies.
- Practice Strengthening Exercises – A strong jaw and accompanying joints are far less likely to suffer from injury and inflammation than a weak jaw. Try placing your thumb under your jaw and opening your mouth 5-10 times while applying moderate pressure. Next, work on strengthening the jaw in the other direction by opening your mouth as wide as possible and pushing down on your chin with your finger between your chin and lower lip while closing your mouth against the pressure. Daily practice of these strengthening exercises can help prevent the possibility of TMJ pain.
- Proper Dental Care – A rigorous oral health routine and regular checkups with the dentist can help prevent TMJ by keeping cavities at bay, maintaining tooth alignment, and limiting inflammation, all of which may contribute to TMJ.
- Eat More Soft Foods – A diet consisting of softer foods as opposed to crunchy or chewy foods can seriously improve the chances of avoiding pain from TMJ. Also, while eating, take care to chew on both sides of the mouth instead of always chewing on one particular side.
- Practice Good Posture – The way you sit and stand can have a significant impact on the alignment of the jaw, and if your posture is poor, it may lead to TMJ pain from jaw misalignment. Practice standing up straight and don’t allow your head to lean too far forward, especially when looking at a computer screen, watching TV, or scrolling on your phone.
Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah Can Help
TMJ pain can be uncomfortable and may not always go away on its own. Despite the best efforts, it’s not always possible to prevent TMJ. You should talk to your dental provider right away if you’re suffering from consistent jaw pain. The board-certified oral surgeons and Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah have a lot of experience in treating TMJ disorders. Call us today to set up a free consultation! We’d love to talk to you about your oral health concerns and answer any questions you might have. We have offices in Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan, and Tooele, Utah.