You may wonder what you are doing to make your bruxism or TMJ disorder worse. Unfortunately, when you overlook these missteps, you will find that your jaw joints continue to ache and your grinding and clenching continues to cause problems for your smile – even if you are receiving oral appliance therapy. Rather than work counterproductively, we suggest you consider a couple areas that require your attention.
#1: You’re Ignoring Stress
Guess what? April is Stress Awareness Month – what better time to explore this issue that can make your bruxism and TMJ disorder worse? You see, when you stress, you tend to tense up your muscles. This includes the muscles within your face and jaw area. As a result, you likely also clench your teeth. This is the opposite of what you should be doing for your oral cavity (relaxing, not stressing). Seek stress relief to alleviate emotional discomfort as well as oral health concerns.
#2: You’re Indulging In Bad Chewing Habits
You might think to yourself that chewing is simply what you do to eat your food – how can you be indulging in bad associated habits? Unfortunately, this is very easy to overlook and can certainly make your bruxism and TMJ disorder worse by causing over-worked teeth and jaws (even if you have already begun treatment). Here are some habits to let go:
- You eat foods that are very difficult to chew (such as tough breads or hard, crunchy foods)
- You snack throughout the day, particularly on chew-heavy selections (like ice)
- You like to chew on your pen while you think
- You chew gum