If you often experience jaw pain that is also paired with headaches, ear pain, difficulty chewing, and a locking jaw, then you may be suffering from a disorder of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). TMJ disorders can be painful, and are often exacerbated by certain bad habits. If you want to ease your symptoms and slow the progression of a problem with your TMJ, then you should focus on dropping habits such as:
Nail biting is a likely path to the development of a TMJ disorder. Biting your nails forces your jaw to move in ways that it is naturally opposed to, which may lead to jaw disc displacement. Keep your nails trimmed and you may be less tempted to bite them.
Using Your Teeth as Tools
Just as biting your nails forces your jaw to make unnatural movements, so does using your teeth as scissors, pliers, nutcrackers, or bottle openers. Give your jaw a break and use the proper tools for the job.
Eating Tough Foods
Tough-to-chew foods can cause a lot of strain on your jaw. If you are experiencing jaw pain, then you should avoid foods such as tough steaks, sticky or chewy candies, and hard foods such as raw carrots or pretzels.
One of the leading causes of TMJ problems is teeth grinding, either on purpose throughout the day or inadvertently at night. If you know you grind your teeth, make a mental effort to relax your jaw during the day and consider wearing a mouth guard when you sleep.
While smoking does not directly cause TMJ disorders, studies have shown that is can significantly contribute to TMJ pain and sensitivity. There are many good reasons to quit smoking, and decreasing TMJ pain is one of them.
You should always seek the help of a professional dentist if you are experiencing jaw pain and feel that there may be a problem with your TMJ. The qualified dentists in Mission such as Tyler Dental Artz, offer comprehensive TMJ treatment plans that take into account your unique needs. Set up a dental appointment in Mission to come see us and discuss how we can help you manage your pain and ease the symptoms of a TMJ disorder.