If you have TMJ pain, you know that the issue is more than just simply discomfort in the jaw joints. This oral health issue can make it difficult to speak, chew, or even fully open your mouth. What you may not know, however, is that certain small behaviors can actually worsen your jaw pain unintentionally. Thankfully, this also means that small corrections to these behaviors can reduce your TMJ pain as well. To help reduce your jaw pain, try making the following changes to your daily life.
1. Wear a Night Guard
There’s a reason we’re starting with this tip first—it can make a huge difference! Many people who experience TMJ pain come to discover—either from their dentists or their partners—that they grind their teeth in their sleep. If this sounds familiar, be sure to visit your dentist and ask him or her about getting fitted for a night guard. This will prevent you from grinding your teeth throughout the night, thereby reducing the pressure on your jaw joints.
2. Keep Your Fingernails Short
If you’re a nail biter, this one is for you. Biting your nails can force you to clench your jaw in ways that it is not supposed to. If you do this too often, it can lead to pain and stress on the jaw joints and exacerbate your TMJ issues. Therefore, cutting your nails short can help to keep you from this bad habit altogether. If you like a nice manicure, however, perhaps you might consider using nail polish that is made for the purpose of deterring you from the habit!
3. Carry a Pocketknife
We’re all guilty of opening packages or containers with our teeth from time to time. However, if you already have TMJ pain (or even if you don’t!), it is important that you avoid this habit entirely. Not only can this break a tooth, it can also worsen the pain in your temporomandibular joints. Instead, try keeping a pocketknife handy when possible. These simple tools often have scissors, bottle openers, knives, and anything else you could possibly need to open that pesky plastic packaging.
4. No Chewing On Ice Cubes
Just as you’re not supposed to chew on your nails or open packages with your teeth, it is also important that you don’t chew on ice cubes either. Your teeth and jawbone are not built to withstand the pressure of chewing on ice cubes, so this can definitely worsen your jaw pain over time. If you need to chew on something, try sugar-free gum instead.
5. Get Up From Your Desk
It turns out that having great posture is not only beneficial for exuding confidence—it can also reduce your TMJ issues. Your jaw joints are closely connected to the bones in your neck and shoulders. Therefore, if you always find yourself slouching at your desk, this could actually be causing a misalignment in your jaw joints. For this reason, we highly recommend getting up from your desk at frequent intervals. This helps you to reset your posture and help to prevent you from slouching.
If you’re experiencing jaw pain, it is important that you see a dentist. They will not only identify the source of your TMJ issues, but also help to remedy it as well.
To make an appointment regarding your jaw pain, call Oradent Associates in Chicago today!