How Chewing Gum Can Lead to TMJ

For those who are not familiar with the temporomandibular joints, it refers to the bones that connect the jaw to the skull. These bones, which are located on either side of the skull and act like sliding hinges, makes it possible to drink beverages, chew food, and even speak. In some cases, these same bones can trigger severe pain and can make any activity that requires movement of the jaw more difficult. When this occurs, it is known as a temporomandibular (TMJ) disorder.


According to a study published by the National Institute of Health, more than 10 million people in America are affected by TMJ. It is also worth noting that TMJ can give way to other dental problems as most people with the condition have a tendency to grind and clench their teeth, which can wear down tooth enamel, making them even more susceptible to toothaches.


According to several studies, the very act of chewing gum engages the muscles in the jaw. And the longer you chew gum, the more overworked those muscles become. In most cases, those who develop TMJ as a result of chewing gum will start to experience spasms, namely in the head, neck, and jaw. Beyond that, the bones that make up the temporomandibular joints can become even more misaligned as the continued chewing starts to degrade cartilage in the jaw. Further, chewing gum can cause facial muscles to tighten and become overworked, which can lead to headaches and even migraines


According to most dentists, including those in Mesa, AZ, the pain and jaw mobility problems associated with TMJ, especially when brought on by chewing gum, is usually temporary and will usually start to subside once an individual either scales back or stops chewing gum altogether. Of course, if pain and mobility problems persist, it may be a good idea to schedule an appointment with a dentist. Some of the more common treatments available to those struggling with TMJ include the use of dental splints, mouth guards, and prescription medication. In extreme cases, however, surgery may be required.

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