The temporomandibular joint connects the jaw and skull bones. Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) have multiple causes and cause different problems, such as difficulty opening the mouth, tenderness of the affected joint, and trouble chewing. As you can see, TMD can make daily life difficult. Fortunately, these lifestyle changes may help ease the symptoms of TMD:
What you eat may intensify your TMD symptoms. Since TMD affects your jaw, eating hard foods or foods that are difficult to chew may worsen it. This is because the more or harder you chew, the more the pressure your jaw experiences.
Therefore, manage your TMD by cooking your foods properly, so they become soft enough to chew easily. Also, avoid chewy foods, such as chewy candies, cereal bars, and dried fruits. Still on the subject of eating, fresh fruits and vegetables will reduce the swelling in your jaws and help reduce the TMD pain too.
Manage Your Stress
Stress complicates TMD in different ways. For example, you are likely to clench your jaw, grind your teeth, and tighten your facial muscles. All of these put pressure on your TMJ, which increases the pain and discomfort of TMD.
Here are some ways to manage stress:
- Practicing relaxations techniques, such as yoga and meditation.
- Identifying and working on your stress triggers.
- Getting help from a professional counselor.
Get Adequate Sleep
At least one research shows a link between sleep deprivation and TMD. Therefore, getting adequate sleep is one way of managing your TMD symptoms. The amount of sleep you need depend on various factors, such as your age and quality of sleep, but a typical adult requires between seven to nine hours of sleep daily.
Engage in Physical Exercise
Physical exercise can ease TMD symptoms since TMD is similar to musculoskeletal disorders. In this case, the aim of physical therapy is to stretch and relax the affected tissues, which will relieve the pain associated with the disorder. Regular physical exercise also improves blood circulation and reduces risks of joint inflammations, thereby relieving TMD symptoms. You may need the help of a professional physical therapist to get the maximum benefit of your physical exercises.
Your dentist will prescribe other forms of medication if these lifestyle changes don't help. For example, the dentist may give you an injection or advise you to undergo surgery. It is usually advisable to begin with conservative treatments before proceeding to radical ones. Talk to a dentist like Mainwaring John D DDS to help you understand the available options.