If you have TMJ, you know just how painful it can be. Therefore, you probably want to do what you can to make it better. Luckily, avoiding these three things can help you get some relief.
1. Open Your Mouth Too Wide
If you have TMJ, you should not open your mouth so wide that you force your jaw muscles and joints past their natural extension. This means that you should be careful when you are making and eating food. Instead of making sandwiches that are piled high with toppings, make two separate sandwiches so that you don't have to open your mouth quite so wide, and when you're eating something like a big turkey leg, you should peel off the meat instead of biting off of the leg bone. Cut your food into small pieces to make them more manageable so that you don't stretch your jaw muscles and joints too much.
2. Using Your Mouth for More Than Eating
There aren't many things that you should do with your mouth other than eating -- and talking, of course. For example, chewing on things like pen caps can put too much stress on your jaw bones and can add to your TMJ pain. You also should not use your teeth as any type of tool, such as when opening a hard-to-open package. Try to kick your habit of chewing on things that aren't food, and use scissors to open packages instead of using your teeth.
3. Grinding and Clenching Your Teeth
Grinding and clenching your teeth is a terrible habit for so many reasons. Not only is it bad for your teeth, but it adds to the pressure on your jaw and can cause serious discomfort, particularly if you suffer from TMJ. Consider wearing a nighttime mouth guard when you're sleeping to prevent you from doing it in your sleep, and make a conscious effort not to do it when you're awake, either. Chewing on a piece of gum can be a healthier choice than grinding or clenching if you're having trouble stopping, and your dental professional can give you tips and advice as well.
TMJ can get worse over time, but it can also get better. Along with seeking treatment from your dental professional, like those at Panther Hollow Dental Lodge, you should make an effort to avoid certain habits. If you make a conscious effort to avoid these three habits, then you can get some relief from your TMJ and can prevent it from getting worse.