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If you suffer from TMJ issues, you’re probably willing to do whatever it takes to avoid that frequent pain and discomfort. What you may not realize is that there are a number of small, seemingly harmless habits that could be contributing to your jaw pain. To protect your jaw from any undue suffering, be sure to avoid any of these behaviors.

1. Biting Your Nails

Often, when people think of this nervous habit, they cringe about how it is both unsanitary and ruins your manicure. Now, you have one more reason to keep your fingers away from your teeth. Biting your nails can cause the jaw to work in ways it is not supposed to, making grinding and clenching movements that wear on your temporomandibular joints. This can exacerbate your TMJ issues and cause further discomfort. To help prevent this problem from affecting you further, consider cutting your nails short or even purchasing nail polish that is specifically made to deter you from biting.

2. Clenching Your Teeth

More often than not, teeth clenching occurs unconsciously while you sleep. However, this habit can also crop up during the waking hours when you’re particularly stressed or even exercising. Teeth clenching can place stress on your jaw joints and ultimately worsen your TMJ pain. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to remedy the issue. For starters, speak with your dentist about getting a night guard to prevent any teeth grinding in your sleep. Then, consider adding stress reduction practices to your daily routine, such as yoga or meditation. Ultimately, teeth grinding and clenching not only causes TMJ pain, but also can severely damage your teeth if you’re not careful. Visiting your dentist as soon as possible will allow you to prevent further damage to your oral health as a result of this habit.

3. Slouching

If you work at a computer in your office, you may have noticed your posture getting worse and worse throughout the day. While you may already be aware of the effects this can have on your back and neck, you might be surprised to learn that this can also increase your TMJ pain as well! Your bones are all more interconnected than you may realize, so it is not surprising that TMJ issues can often be caused by misalignments in the neck and shoulders. Try to get up from your desk at regular intervals and avoid slouching whenever possible to prevent the painful effects it can have on your temporomandibular joints.

4. Opening Packages with Your Teeth

While it may seem harmless at first, opening packages or containers with your teeth can actually cause quite a few problems for your teeth and jaw. Your teeth are intended to chew food, so opening packages, jars, bottles, and more with your mouth can put your jaw in uncomfortable positions and add a lot of pressure to your joints. If you have TMJ pain, it is critical that you avoid putting this added stress on your jaw. Instead, try keeping a pocketknife handy to make sure you always have a suitable tool to use instead!

5. Chewing on Ice Cubes

Just as your teeth are not intended to chew on inedible items, they are also not supposed to chew on ice. Your dental enamel is the strongest substance in your body, but that does not mean that it is capable of withstanding the pressure of chewing on ice cubes. Therefore, when you chew on ice cubes, your jawbone ends up taking a hit as well. To save yourself the jaw ache and the broken teeth, be sure to avoid this harmful habit!

To find a treatment that works for you, call us at TruBlu Dentistry in Burbank, Chicago, or Hegewisch today.

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