How do you prevent TMJ?

tmj

What is TMJ?

Feeling stressed out?  Your not alone.  A survey released on February 15, 2017 by the American Psychological Association reports that Americans say they’re feeling more stress than ever before.  Unfortunately, there is quite a down side to lot’s of stress.  It will ultimately affect your health in one form or another.  This stands true with dental issues as well.  TMJ problems are rising due to high stress levels in the world. TMJ or Temporomandibular Disorder is a condition that indicates the hinge connecting the upper and lower jaw isn’t working properly.

So what behaviors contribute to TMJ?

Many people who are stressed tend to develop some bad behaviors.  Biting on fingernails, pen caps, or the inside of your mouth can cause jaw pain. Other conditions such as when that feeling of anxiety kicks in, we find a cheesy pizza, bag of chips or even ice cream.  Let’s face it, there are many stress eaters out there.  Unfortunately, when “stressing out”, people tend to eat larger bites while eating.  To alleviate symptoms of TMJ, you need to avoid the behaviors.  Stop chewing on your nails, or pen.  While eating, take smaller bites.  You can also regularly massage your jaw, cheeks and temple muscles.

Another symptoms of TMJ is spasms. Most patients find heat is helpful in relieving pain and muscle tension.  This pain may radiate to your neck or shoulders. It can also cause ear pain, ringing the the ears and hearing loss.  Symptoms typically manifest when talking, yawning or chewing.  If symptoms occur, apply moist heat to the spasm area.  Also, try to maintain good sleep posture with neck support.  Good sleep posture is achieved when you maintain the curve in your lower back.  It is recommended that a person lye on their back with a pillow under their knees.  If that doesn’t work for you, try sleeping on your side with your knees slightly bent.

Another habit that adds to TMJ symptoms is teeth grinding.  Teeth grinding and clenching is a habit over time that will damage your teeth and will also add to TMJ symptoms.  The best way to resolve this issue is to see your dentist and ask about a night guard.  A night guard is a device that you where in your sleep and will prevent you from grinding.

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