Temporomandibular joint disorder, more commonly known as TMJ, can lead to an array of painful symptoms from headaches to lockjaw. In some cases, this pain can even cause difficulty chewing. While it’s more common in older adults, TMJ can occur at any age. As with most illnesses, prevention is the best route. Here, the dentists of Greenery Park Dentistry in Kalispell, MT, share steps to avoid TMJ.
5 Steps to Prevent TMJ
1. Eat Smart Foods in Small Bites
Slice your food into smaller portions when eating. Smaller bites lessen the load on your jaw. It also helps to eat softer foods, which exert less impact on your teeth and jaw.
2. Relax Your Jaw
Many people grind their teeth or tighten their jaw muscles as a reaction to stress or anger, without even realizing it. If you have unexplained jaw pain, it may be from creating such tension.
3. Get Your Exercise
There are exercises that can treat TMJ symptoms. This website has some tips for exercises you can practice at home that are designed to relax your jaw.
4. Be Kind to Your Teeth
Do you use teeth to open packages, chew on your nails, or devour hard candy? These bad dental habits are damaging to your teeth and jaw. Use your teeth only for what they are meant for—chewing food.
5. Beware the Night Grinds
Even if you don’t grind your teeth while you’re awake, that doesn’t exclude the possibility that you’re a teeth grinder in your sleep. If you gnash your teeth at night, visit your dentist. A fitted mouth guard can help.
If you notice signs of TMJ, see a dentist immediately. The sooner the issue is addressed, the sooner your pain stops. For a consultation in Kalispell, MT, look to Greenery Park Dentistry. Visit them online or call (406) 755-6116 to make an appointment.