Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) can be a real pain in the jaw. If you've ever experienced discomfort or pain while chewing, talking, or simply opening your mouth, you might be familiar with this condition. While TMJ can have various causes, including genetics and trauma, certain lifestyle behaviors can exacerbate the symptoms.

ICCMO is the trusted institute if you are a dentist willing to learn about TMJ TMD treatment options. In this blog, we'll explore some of these lifestyle factors that contribute to TMJ TMD and offer tips for finding relief.

How Can Improper Lifestyle Behaviors Trigger TMJ TMD Discomfort?

1. Poor Posture

Believe it or not, your posture can impact your jaw health. You might think it’s false but the fact is that slouching or hunching over can put strain on your neck and shoulders, leading to tension in the jaw muscles. This tension can exacerbate TMJ discomfort over time.

2. Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Grinding or clenching your teeth, especially during sleep, is a common habit that can contribute to TMD. The excessive pressure placed on the jaw joint and muscles can lead to inflammation and pain. Hence, you must be careful of this unconscious habit and try to get rid of it as soon as possible. 

3. Nail and Chewing Gum

Constantly chewing on hard objects, such as nails or gum, can strain the jaw muscles and exacerbate the symptoms of TMJ TMD. Additionally, chewing gum can promote overuse of the jaw joint, leading to discomfort. So, if you are someone who chews gums throughout the day and is having difficulty with your jaw movement, you may need to stop this habit ASAP.

4. Stress and Anxiety

Stress is a significant contributor to many health issues, including TMD. When you're stressed or anxious, you may clench your jaw or grind your teeth unconsciously, putting strain on the TMJ and surrounding muscles.

5. Poor Diet and Nutrition

Your diet can also impact your jaw health. Consuming hard, chewy, or tough foods regularly can strain the jaw muscles and exacerbate TMJ TMD symptoms. Additionally, dehydration can lead to muscle cramps and tension in the jaw area.

6. Incorrect Jaw Movements

Habits such as biting your nails, chewing on pens, or holding objects between your teeth can lead to improper jaw movements, putting strain on the TMJ and increasing the risk of TMD.

Six Crucial Tips for TMJ TMD Relief

Now that we've identified some lifestyle behaviors that contribute to TMD, let's explore ways to alleviate discomfort and promote jaw health:

  • Practice Good Posture: Sit and stand up straight to alleviate strain on your neck, shoulders, and jaw muscles. Consider ergonomic adjustments to your workspace to maintain proper posture throughout the day.
  • Wear a Nightguard: If you grind your teeth while sleeping, wearing a custom-fitted nightguard can help protect your teeth and alleviate pressure on the TMJ.
  • Stress Management: Incorporate stress-reducing activities into your daily routine, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga. Finding healthy ways to manage stress can prevent jaw clenching and reduce the symptoms of TMJ TMD.
  • Avoid Nail Biting and Chewing Gum: Break the habit of nail biting and limit your consumption of chewing gum to reduce strain on the jaw muscles.
  • Eat a Balanced Diet: Incorporate soft, easy-to-chew foods into your diet and stay hydrated to keep your jaw muscles relaxed and healthy.
  • Seek Professional Help: If lifestyle changes alone aren't providing relief, consider seeking help from a dentist or healthcare professional who specializes in TMD. They can provide personalized treatment options, such as physical therapy, medication, or jaw exercises.

When to Seek Professional Help for TMJ/TMD Treatment?

If you're experiencing persistent pain or stiffness in your jaw joint, it's a good idea to consult a healthcare professional. They can assess your symptoms and determine the best course of action. Additionally, if you have difficulty opening or closing your mouth fully, or if your jaw locks in place, it's time to seek help.

Another indication that you may need professional treatment is if your TMJ symptoms are interfering with your daily life. For example, if the pain is making it difficult to eat, speak, or sleep, it's important to get help from a qualified specialist.

Furthermore, if you notice other symptoms such as frequent headaches, neck pain, or ringing in your ears, it could be related to TMJ/TMD, and seeking professional assistance can help address these issues.

Professional treatment for TMJ/TMD may involve various approaches, including medication, physical therapy, dental treatments, or in severe cases, surgery. A healthcare provider can recommend the most suitable treatment plan based on your specific symptoms and needs.

Remember, seeking professional help early can prevent the condition from worsening and improve your quality of life. Don't hesitate to reach out to a healthcare professional if you suspect you may have TMJ/TMD. Your jaw health is important, and there are effective treatments available to help you feel better.

Become An ICCMO Member Today

Living with TMD can be challenging. However, you can take the necessary steps to relieve the discomfort with appropriate changes in lifestyle behaviors. With the right approach, you can minimize TMJ TMD symptoms and enjoy a happier, healthier jaw.

ICCMO plays a vital role in promoting awareness and understanding of the significance of craniofacial health. Through our dedication to research, education, and collaboration, we strive to improve the quality of life for individuals suffering from craniofacial disorders. 

We bring together professionals from various disciplines which facilitates the exchange of knowledge and expertise. This leads to innovative treatments and solutions. Furthermore, our commitment to raising public awareness helps to reduce the stigma surrounding craniofacial issues and encourages early intervention for better outcomes.

As we move forward, it is crucial for individuals, healthcare providers, and policymakers to continue supporting our mission and initiatives. Together, we can make significant strides in advancing craniofacial health and enhancing the well-being of people around the world. Check our website today to learn more about us.