The exact number of sufferers of TMJ is unknown. However, it is estimated that 10 million Americans have TMJ syndrome. Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) syndrome causes pain in the jaw joint due to underlying medical issues. However, there are ways to prevent these problems from occurring.
First, let’s discuss what TMJ is.
Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) consists of blood vessels, nerves, bones, and muscles. The muscles in your mouth help you chew and open/close your mouth. The TMJ controls your jawbone, helping it rotate and glide. However, this joint is prone to fracture or injury.
What Are Some Ways to Prevent Problems with Your TMJ?
Stress is one of the causes of TMJ. Thus, you must avoid it as much as you can. Stress can trigger or aggravate your TMJ disorder.
If you are stressed, you will clench your teeth unconsciously. It is also possible that you will tighten your jaw muscles to deal with whatever is causing stress in your life.
Tightening your jaw muscles can add pressure to the muscles, thereby straining the joints in your jaw and face. The strain can pull the joints out of alignment, causing pain and discomfort, which are symptoms of TMJ disorder.
That’s why it is vital to eliminate any stressors in your life. One way is to exercise regularly. Exercise lowers your levels of cortisol and other stress hormones. It also releases endorphins that improve your mood. Endorphins can function as natural painkillers.
Your exercise routine does not have to be intense. Walking, dancing, jogging, or yoga can do the trick.
Another way to prevent TMJ is to avoid chewing gum. Excessive gum chewing can exacerbate the condition.
The reason for this is that the act of chewing causes the joint to be overused. As you continuously chew, your mouth muscles and the joint become fatigued
When the joint gets tired, you will feel pain. If you need to chew gum, do so for only a few seconds.
Avoid Eating Chewy Foods
Chewy foods include tougher meat and other delicacies. The act of chewing them requires constant jaw motion.
This motion aggravates your joint, causing pain. Instead of eating these items, opt for softer foods. Bananas, yogurt, and fish are great choices.
You should also consider reducing your fat intake. The saturated fat in your food can increase inflammation in the body. You can still eat fatty food but do so in moderation.
If the pain of TMJ is too much, consider talking to Dr. Michael Mabry. He will examine your teeth and mouth, as well as your TMJ, to determine the best option for you. While surgery is an option, it is typically the last resort.
At Dr. Michael Mabry’s dental office, we do not typically recommend a surgical procedure for TMJ; however, we will suggest it if it is the only option you have. Dr. Michael will give you several tips and non-invasive treatments to reduce the pain of TMJ.
Consult Dr. Michael Mabry today to learn more about how to prevent TMJ syndrome.