Have TMJ? Break These Bad Habits

Have TMJ? Break These Bad Habits

Nail biting, not using scissors, grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw are all bad habits that can impact your health. If you suffer from TMJ-related jaw pain, these harmful tendencies may be what caused the temporomandibular joint disorder.

Worst Habits for TMJ Sufferers

Do you recognize which behaviors aggravate TMJ pain the most? Learn about common bad habits and find out how you can break the impulsion:

Nail Biting

Biting or chewing your nails forces your jaw to move in unnatural ways causing unnecessary TMJ pain. But mindless habits, like nail biting, can be hard to break. Try these suggestions to help you stop yourself:

  • Keep your nails filed and trimmed
  • Get a professional manicure periodically
  • Wear nail polish made to deter nail biting
  • Ask the people around you to help by calling you out on unconscious biting

Grinding Your Teeth or Clenching Your Jaw

If you are jaw clenching or grinding your teeth in your sleep or during the day, these practices can easily lead to TMJ pain. There are ways to address this problem at the root:

  • Find ways to manage stress and keep anxiety in check. Both conditions are closely linked to jaw clenching and bruxism.
  • Talk to your TMJ specialist about getting a nightguard or some other occlusal appliances.
  • Work on using your tongue as a cushion between your upper and lower jaw to prevent your teeth from touching.

Not Using Scissors

Teeth are not designed to be used as tools. When you substitute your teeth for scissors or other sharp instruments you risk tooth damage and increased TMJ pain. Using your teeth like scissors, you put your jaw in compromising positions. To eliminate the urge, consider the following tips:

  • Keep a small pair of scissors readily available
  • If you can’t get a bottle or a package open, ask for help

Eating Crunchy or Hard Foods

Regardless if the item is tasty or full of good nutrition, some foods are just too painful to eat if you suffer from the temporomandibular joint disorder. Avoid eating crunchy or hard foods that position your jaw in abnormal ways, such as:

  • Some raw fruits and vegetables- like apples, raw carrots, and celery
  • Sticky or hard to chew items such as caramel and taffy
  • Crunchy cereal and granola
  • Popcorn, nuts or chips

It can take some time to break a bad habit, so be stick with reasonable goals and expectations. Small changes that add up over the long haul. It will be worth the effort when you feel your TMJ pain begin to lessen.