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Glendale, AZ 85308-8370

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Arrowhead Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
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Your Bad Habits Could Increase Your TMJ Pain

Posted on 9/6/2021 by Dr. Michael Allard
Your Bad Habits Could Increase Your TMJ PainTMJ or Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder is a progressive condition that can get worse over time. Some bad habits can make TMJ pain even more severe and unbearable, and breaking such habits can help manage the pain. Here are some bad habits that you should avoid.

Using Your Teeth as Tools

No matter how strong your teeth are, you should never use them as tools. Teeth are not built to take on lateral forces. Habits like using your teeth as a bottle opener or scissors, chewing toothpicks, pen caps, or other non-food items, holding heavy items with your teeth, and more, put a lot of lateral force on your teeth, muscles, or joint jaw, increasing the pain. Using your teeth as tools can also cause them to fracture.


Though smoking does not require you to use your jaw muscles, it is a damaging habit because it puts you at risk of chronic pain like TMJ, and it also increases your risk of oral cancer. Smokers may have a higher pain severity and are less likely to undergo a TMJ treatment successfully.

Eating Tough Food

Foods such as hard fruits and vegetables, tough meat, crunchy cereals, and any big food that will cause you to open your mouth too wide can cause you to strain your jaws and teeth, increasing the pain. If you are experiencing TMJ pain, it may be a good idea to switch to a soft diet and cut up your food into smaller pieces. You should also avoid yawning wider than usual.

Grinding Your Teeth

This is one of the ways of developing and increasing TMJ pain. Avoid you clenching or grinding your teeth when you are nervous or while asleep. Do not ignore any teeth or jaw pain. Change the habits that add to your pain and if the pain persists, get in touch with us for professional treatment.
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