Have TMJ? Break These Bad Habits

Have TMJ? Break These Bad Habits

September 19, 2018

We have a list of bad habits that can give Santa’s naughty list a run for its money. However, for those of you who’ve been diagnosed with the temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), you may want to be wary of some of these habits as they can cause increased pain in the jaw and facial areas.

Nail Biting

As convenient as it sounds, nail biting is quite the barbaric technique for grooming your nails. The jaw wasn’t meant to move in such a way, so it further aggravates your TMJ pain. If you want to give your nail biting habit a break, try these tips:

  • Invest in a nail clipper
  • Trim and file your nails regularly
  • Paint your nails to discourage nail biting

Grinding Your Teeth Or Clenching Jaw

If you often find yourself grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw in moments of intense boredom or frustration, stop and consider the additional pain you are putting yourself through. Both of these actions contribute to TMJ jaw pain. Try these helpful tips to break this bad habit.

  • Consider getting a mouthpiece or nightguard to protect your teeth and jaw
  • Use your tongue as a safety measure by placing them between the teeth throughout the day.

Opening Things With Your Mouth

Teeth, as much as we want them to be, aren’t scissors. Such actions subject your jaw to unnatural positions and biting force. Instead of using your teeth for daily “opening” tasks follow these hints to try and break the cycle:

  • Always have a small pair of scissors with you to avoid using your teeth.
  • Ask for help if you can’t open a package by yourself. The person assisting may have a sharp tool that can assist you.

Eating Crunchy Foods

Inevitably some foods are going to be harder than others, and while this isn’t’ a bad thing, in the case of TMJ it can lead to excessive pain. Avoiding the following foods can help you be more conscientious of your diet and how it relates to your teeth and jaws.

  • Fruits that bear a resemblance to apples or pears
  • Vegetables such as raw carrots, celery
  • Caramel candies, taffies, licorice, peppermint
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