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Does Chewing Gum Make TMJ Disorder Worse?

September 21, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — Cooklin and Ward Dental Group @ 10:45 am
A closeup of a woman placing chewing gum in her mouth

As far as habits go, gum-chewing may not seem that bad. There’s even research that suggests it can help keep your mouth clean! Still, you should be careful – chewing gum can make TMJ worse. You may suffer more severe jaw issues if you go too far with it. Luckily, your local Millersville dental practice can further explain. Here’s how gum-chewing and TMJ disorder are related and why to see a dentist for the latter.

Context: What’s TMJ Disorder?

Standing for the ‘temporomandibular joint,’ the TMJ is a part of your face’s bone structure. You have one on each side of your jaw, and it acts as a sort of sliding hinge. It thus helps you open and close your mouth when you chew and speak.

Given this context, a TMJ disorder (per the name) is a condition where your TMJ becomes dysfunctional. Factors like genetics, arthritis, and jaw injuries often cause it. Over time, the issue leads to symptoms like severe jaw pain, popping or clicking noises, etc.

How is Chewing Gum Related to TMJ Disorder?

As it turns out, gum chewing really isn’t good for TMJ disorders. The former tends to aggravate and worsen the latter.

Remember, chewing gum exercises your jaw muscles. When those muscles get overworked, they can trigger painful spasms in your jaw, neck, and head. The strain can also cause the cartilage in your jaw to erode and degrade. Naturally, such things will irritate pre-existing TMJ disorder symptoms.

Given these facts, most dentists suggest TMJ disorder patients refrain from gum-chewing. Doing so allows your muscles to relax and your head, neck, and jaw to recover.

Should You See a Dentist for TMJ Disorder?

While letting up on gum-chewing can help with TMJ pain, it won’t treat the underlying problem. You’ll need to see a dentist for a real solution to TMJ disorder.

You see, many dentists offer forms of TMJ therapy. One option is an occlusal adjustment, which reshapes key teeth so the jaw can rest more naturally. Another is an occlusal splint – a mouthpiece that prevents teeth-grinding, a common cause of TMJ disorder. Yet other dental teams provide BOTOX injections to relieve muscle pain in the jaw.

As you can see, chewing gum can indeed make TMJ worse. So, lay off the spearmint and see your dentist for one of the treatment choices above!

About the Practice

Transcendent Smiles is based in Millersville, MD. Led by Dr. Vy Tran, our practice strives to meet all patients’ oral needs and wants. Thus, we offer comprehensive dentistry, including preventive, cosmetic, and restorative procedures. Our team is also well-equipped to treat dental emergencies, providing tooth extractions and root canal therapy as needed. For more information or to book a visit, you can reach us on our website or by phone at (410)-729-9090.

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