TMJ or temporomandibular joint disorder is an umbrella term used to describe a group of disruptive conditions that can significantly affect the jaw and its surrounding structures. Attached to the skull and several important ligaments, the temporomandibular joint has connections that run as far back as the shoulders. Even though jaw pain is the most common symptom of TMJ, because of the connections in the jaw, symptoms can be far reaching and detrimental, affecting your overall quality of life.
TMJ can be a progressive disorder that can worsen over time, causing problems like bite misalignment in the future. If you suspect you have TMJ or are in the process of treating your symptoms, this blog is for you. Below you will find habits to consider and habits to avoid.
Do Quit Gum
If you have difficult TMJ symptoms, chewing gum is one of the worst things you could do for your jaw. When a skilled runner sprains their ankle or tears a ligament, they take a break from running until their body heals. Chewing gum is exactly the same. It constantly requires your jaw to move up and down, making it difficult for it to heal properly.
Don’t Drink Alcohol
Drinking less alcohol in a period of recovery is advice that can be given to just about anyone who suffers from a disorder like TMJ. When our body is injured, the natural response is minor inflammation. This closes off an area of our body to avoid infection, but it can also hinder the healing process. Alcohol is known to possess several inflammatory properties, and continually drinking it can increase the amount of inflammation present within your body.
Do Eat a Healthier Diet
Much like alcohol can trigger inflammation, so can eating too much of the wrong kinds of food. The most common culprit is sugar. That’s because when your body takes in too much glucose-containing sugar, that extra glucose increases the levels of cytokines, which send a message throughout the body to ramp up the inflammation response. Decreasing the amount of sugar you ingest throughout the day to below 25g (the average American consumers about 82g) will not only alleviate inflammation, it will also lower your chances of heart disease and stroke. Along with cutting out sugar, eating a balanced diet heavy in vegetables, leafy greens, and anti-inflammatory foods such as ginger, can go a long way in controlling TMJ symptoms.
Don’t Forget to Schedule an Appointment
Many patients with TMJ symptoms may not know where to go to seek relief. Visiting a dentist who specializes in relieving TMJ symptoms may help to improve your pain. Utilizing many drug-free treatment options, such as custom-fitted mouthguards, can help to get your jaw under control.
Dr. Paul Hahn and Dr. Adam Hahn in Columbia, SC have experience helping people with all stages and types of TMJ. They can help you, too. Please call or email Smile Columbia Dentistry today to schedule an appointment with a TMJ dentist.