TMJ pain, or temporomandibular joint pain, can ruin even your favorite meal. Somehow, those crispy tacos might look less appetizing when it means pain shooting through your jaw. It's important to both your health and your happiness, then, for you to minimize TMJ pain as much as possible.
The Root of the Problem
Although there are many factors that can cause TMJ pain, there is one common effect: the muscles that move your jaw and the joints that connect your mandible to your skull can throb with agonizing pain. Both these muscles and these joints affect your chewing motion, so it should come as little surprise that what you chew can affect the amount of your TMJ pain. And while it might be obvious to skip the hard pretzels or popcorn, even soft chews, like chewing gum, can aggravate your TMJ pain,
Up and Down
If you chew gum, you probably work your jaw with the gum than with any food you actually swallow. The whole point and pleasure of chewing gum is the ongoing flavor and texture experienced by constant chewing. But that constant chewing means constant movement of your temporomandibular joint and the muscles around them - up and down and around as your teeth squeeze delicious fruity and minty flavors. Chewing gum strains the very parts of your mouth that are most affected by TMJ pain. This can only make your TMJ pain worse, when what your mandibular joints and muscles really need are rest and relaxation.
Even if you are an enthusiastic gum chewer, with a fresh stick always at the ready, it's unlikely chewing gum caused your TMJ pain. There is, however, no doubt that chewing gum will only worsen your TMJ pain. Better to skip the gum – and call us for more help.