Are you wondering how to stop these bad habits now?
When it comes to your jaw health, there are some daily actions that we all perform with our mouths that are not necessarily related to the obvious eating, drinking, or speaking. Some of these actions may not be the greatest thing to do if you are suffering from jaw pain.
Have a read below – and really consider trying to break these bad habits as they can cause discomfort to your teeth and temporomandibular joint (TMJ – jaw)
Bad habits you need to break to avoid TMJ pain:
1. Biting your fingernails. You may be completely unaware of this nervous habit, which means you could be biting your nails far more often than you know. Not only are you introducing a whole host of nasty germs into your mouth (yuck!) but you will likely be biting at awkward angles with your jaw to achieve a nice teeth-given manicure. To stop biting your nails, try to keep them trimmed, and use a flavored nail polish to help you stop biting. You can also consider asking your friends, family, and coworkers to draw your attention to it when you’re biting your nails so you can become more aware of it.
2. Chewing on a pen or pencil. It’s easy to mindlessly chew on your pen while you’re taking notes, in meetings or as a studying student. Break this bad habit by wrapping tape around the top of your pen to make you aware of when you are doing it.
3. Sleeping on your stomach. Sleeping on your stomach is one of the worst things you can do for your TMJs (and also your neck health!). The pressure on the jaw encourages it to move in unnatural ways and create TMJ pain and dysfunction over time. Train yourself to sleep on your back by supporting your neck and knees with a rolled-up towel or small pillow. While we are on sleep health, it is also important to be aware if you are involuntary clenching or grinding your teeth while you sleep.
4. Eating hard or chewy foods. If you’re stressed or anxious, you may unconsciously gravitate toward hard foods that give you satisfying crunch you crave when you bite into them. Try to avoid hard foods like apples and raw carrots, or anything excessively chewy like candy or caramels.
5. Using your teeth as a tool. Your teeth are made for chewing, not opening packages, plastic bottles, or glass bottles. This type of movement can be aggravating to your jaw and can cause some serious damage to your teeth. If you find yourself often turning to your teeth as a tool – consider carrying some more appropriate tool for this like a pocket knife, bottle opener, or a small pair of sewing scissors with you so you can open packages and bottles without damaging your teeth and jaw.
No matter how or why you developed your poor jaw habits, you should be conscious of stopping these ASAP to prevent further or potential dysfunction for your TMJ.
If you are having ongoing TMJ pain/dysfunction, come and see one of our TMJ specialist practitioners.