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Dangers of Chewing Gum if Your Jaw Chronically Hurts

Posted on 12/21/2020 by Palisades Surgical Arts
Dangers of Chewing Gum if Your Jaw Chronically HurtsSugar-free gum is great for freshening your breath on the go and making your mouth feel clean after a meal. Some people even use it as a stress reliever or a replacement for cigarettes if they are trying to quit smoking. However, chewing gum can be harmful to your jaw, especially if you already experience chronic jaw pain.

Chewing Gum Can Cause or Exacerbate TMD

The excessive, repetitive chewing involved when you chew gum can cause you to overwork your jaw muscles. This overexertion can lead to aches and painful muscle spasms, which can eventually cause you to develop a condition known as TMD. TMD or TMJ are terms used to describe a variety of different disorders that affect the joint that connects your jawbone to your skull, the temporomandibular joint. In addition to jaw pain and spasms, TMD can also cause tension headaches, migraines, neck and shoulder pain, ear aches, tinnitus, sleep problems, difficulty chewing and opening your mouth, and popping or clicking sounds when opening your mouth. If you already have TMD, chewing gum can exacerbate these symptoms.

The direct cause of TMD is not known, but it is often attributed to anxiety, arthritis, or a genetically misaligned bite. Treatment for TMD usually involves the use of relaxation techniques, facial exercises, mouth guards, or anxiety medication.

Replacements for Chewing Gum

If you chew gum primarily as a way to freshen your breath, try switching to sugar-free breath mints instead, as these do not require excessive chewing that places stress on your jaw. You can also eat foods that are natural breath fresheners such as celery, apples, and parsley, or carry a mini toothbrush or dental floss with you to clean your teeth after meals. If chewing gum helps you manage stress or replaces a habit like smoking, you can try other stress relievers such as playing with a fidget spinner, squeezing a stress ball, doing breathing exercises, or keeping a journal. For more information on TMD and other conditions that affect your jaw, contact our office today.
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Palisades Surgical Arts, 881 Alma Real Drive, Suite T4, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272 + (424) 346-0955 + + 7/23/2021 + Key Phrases: Oral Surgeon Pacific Palisades CA + Oral Surgeon Pacific Palisades CA +