Everyone has some bad habits. You might eat too much junk food or drink too much coffee. Or you may prefer Netflix to the gym. We’re not judging.
But if you suffer from TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder) your bad habits can end up causing you pain and costly dental bills in the end.
So while you are figuring out which New Year’s Resolutions should actually be keepers this year, consider adding this list of bad habits to break.
About half of all children bite their nails at some point, but when you carry that habit into adulthood as a method of stress management, it does more than ruin your manicure. It can exacerbate the pain associated with TMJ.
To trim your nail biting habit:
- Trim and file your nails regularly
- Pay for a professional manicure that you may think twice about chewing on
- Paint your nails with polish specifically designed to deter nail biting
- Ask friends and family to call attention to your nail biting so that you’ll be aware of how often you are doing it
Teeth Grinding and Jaw Clenching
Whether you grind your teeth at night or clench your jaw during stressful days, both can aggravate TMJ pain.
To release these habits:
- Lower your stress levels—try meditation, yoga, or breathing practices
- Ask your dentist about a mouth guard to prevent grinding
- Consciously position your tongue between your teeth during the day to prevent clenching
Crunching and Munching
Sometimes you just crave that crunch, but overworking your jaw on hard foods can also aggravate TMJ pain.
To soften your munching, avoid foods such as:
- Hard raw vegetables—carrots, apples, celery
- Cereals and granola
- Popcorn and chips
- Caramels and hard chocolate candy
Making Your Teeth Into Tools
We have all at least thought about opening a shrink-wrapped package or cutting a fishing line with our teeth. But it’s important to remember that your teeth serve very specific purposes. They allow you to chew, eat, and speak. They are not designed to be used as scissors, knives, or other sharp tools.
To break this jaw-breaking habit:
- Carry small scissors or a knife with you in your pocket, in your purse, even in your car console
- Ask for help. Someone around you may have a pocket knife or scissors handy to help you open a special package.
Call Today for Your TMJ Consultation
Are you experiencing jaw pain, headaches, or even upper back pain that you can’t explain? The cause may be TMJ, and the best way to know for sure is to make an appointment for a dental evaluation and consultation.
Don’t suffer with the pain that TMJ causes. Learn more about which treatment options may be right for you and put an end to your TMJ pain.
Please call BridgeView Dental today at 512-898-9954 to schedule a free neuromuscular dentistry consultation with experienced dentist Dr. Lance Loveless. We welcome patients from throughout Austin, including West Lake Hills and Lakeway. We look forward to welcoming you.