If you suffer from temporomandibular joint disorders, or TMJ, you know all too well that certain activities can trigger or aggravate your TMJ disorder. In order to help eliminate unnecessary pain and lessen your TMJ symptoms, try kicking these habits.
Nail biting is a big no-no for those with TMJ disorder. Biting your nails moves the jaw in a motion its not meant to be used in, which puts extra stress on parts of the jaw that can exacerbate the TMJ pain.
Using Teeth as Scissors
We all have moments that we can’t open a plastic bag or some hard to tear packaging and go to use our teeth as cutting tools to get the job done. The problem is, teeth are designed for eating, and not meant to be used to pry or cut materials other than food. Using teeth for these types of moves the jaw in ways similar to nail biting, which further irritates the jaw.
Many of us grind our teeth. While this bad habit can cause numerous negative effects for anyone, it is especially painful for TMJ sufferers.
Eating Hard, Crunchy Foods
There are certain foods referred to as “high impact” foods. These include, hard crunchy items, as well as those that are very chewy. Think of granola, chips, crunchy fruits and vegetables, and sweets like taffy. All of these options are especially good at provoking pain associated with TMJ disorders.
Smoking is, by far, one of the most harmful habits to a person’s overall health. There are many well-known effects smoking has on the entire body, but these can also attribute to additional TMJ pain. The exact correlation between smoking and TMJ isn’t fully know, but it’s believed that the effect smoking has on sleep and stress are what cause this increased pain for those suffering from TMJ.
The Bottom Line
Many habits can contribute to the worsening of a temporomandibular joint disorder. Aside from working with a trusted dentist, the best you can do to help alleviate this pain is to work on breaking these habits. This not only helps with your pain, but can also assist in avoiding oral surgery. If you need help kicking these bad habits, or you want to identify if you have other habits that may be unknowingly contributing to your TMJ pain, get in touch with your dentist. A professional’s help is the best way to eliminating the pain and side effects associated with TMJ.