5 Things That Are Making Your Jaw Pain Worse

1) Chewing Gum

Popping a piece of gum here and there to freshen your breath is no big deal, the problem arises when it becomes a chronic habit. Unlike when you are eating a meal, people often chew gum mindlessly and often for much longer than they would eat. The repetitive chewing causes the jaw muscles to become overworked and puts strain of the jaw joint (TMJ). This can lead muscle fatigue, spasms, pain and headaches.

What you can do instead: 

  • Drink mint or citrus infused water
  • Use a breath mint 
  • Carry a travel tooth brush, or floss

2) Resting your Chin on Your hand

This is a common posture many of us default to when in a class, a meeting, or working on a project. A lot of the time you may not even realize you are doing it (I’m guilty as charged with this one). The problem with this position is that it places too much pressure on the TMJ and can result in increased pain.

What you can do instead:

  • Avoid resting your elbows on the table, as this can often lead to your resting your chin on your hands
  • Sit on your hands
  • Place your hands on your lap

3) Biting your nails

This is a nervous habit for many. However, this causes the jaw to work in ways it is not intended to like grinding and clenching movements which wear on your TMJ.

What you can do instead:

  • Apply a bitter tasting nail coating
  • Keep your nails short
  • Apply nail stickers to deter from biting
  • Use a stress ball when you feel the urge to bite your nails

4) Opening Packages with your teeth

While it may seem like a harmless thing to do, opening packages and containers with your teeth can cause problems for your jaw. It requires your jaw to be placed in awkward positions it is not intended for as well as adds a lot of pressure to the joints.

What you can do instead:

  • Keep a pocket knife on hand so you have a tool other than your teeth.

5) Chewing Ice Cubes

This is another habit that people develop from many reasons, from relieving stress, to combating a dry mouth. Biting down and chewing on hard ice requires the jaw to move in ways it is not intended, such as grinding.Unfortunately it can increase or lead to jaw pain. 

What you can do instead: 

  • Make a slushie
  • Opt for a cold drink or a popsicle 
  • Have a crunchie snack like apples, carrots etc to satisfy the crunch craving (if not currently in a flare up of pain)

If you need some help getting pain relief from these habits, schedule an initial assessment with me.

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or you can text/call:
(226) 493-1502

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