The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) must be taken care of, we use it every day. It is the joint that allows our lower jaw to move. Ideally, this is painless and moves with ease! This is not the case for some people. If you have problems with your TMJ, it is best to consult with your dentist. Sometimes a nightguard helps but at times treatment with a physiotherapist or TMJ specialist is required. A little self-care also goes a long way.
Here are 5 tips to keep a healthy TMJ:
1) Avoid hard foods
Quit that chronic gum chewing! Frequently eating tough meats and chewy gummies or gum is stressful for the joint. Soft foods are easiest for the joint.
2) Lubricate your TMJ regularly
Every hour or so, touch your tongue on the roof of your mouth and move your jaw slightly up and down, left and right.
3) Practice proper resting position for your jaw (which will avoid clenching)
Rest your tongue on the roof of your mouth, keep lips closed. The tip of your tongue should be touching behind your front teeth. Your top teeth should not touch your bottom teeth, there should be a small space between top teeth and bottom teeth.
4) Massage your masseter and temporalis
The masseter is your chewing muscle in your cheeks and the temporalis muscle is close to your temple, the one we frequently rub when we have a headache or a stressful day.
5) Be mindful of your neck and back position (i.e. Your posture)
Good posture will reap you great benefits including a healthy TMJ.