Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, commonly known as TMJ, is a condition that affects the joint connecting your jaw to your skull. This joint is responsible for many everyday functions, including talking, chewing, and yawning. When this joint is not functioning properly due to injury or stress, it can result in pain, discomfort, and limited movement.

How Lifestyle Affects TMJ


The role of lifestyle in our overall health is undeniable. From our diet to our exercise habits, the choices we make each day have a profound impact on our wellbeing. The same is true when it comes to our TMJ health. Certain lifestyle habits can place undue stress on the temporomandibular joint, leading to pain and discomfort.

Stress is one of the biggest lifestyle factors that contribute to TMJ disorders. When we are stressed, we tend to clench our jaws or grind our teeth, both of which can put a strain on the TMJ. Lack of physical activity can also contribute to TMJ issues, as regular exercise helps to reduce tension and promote overall joint health.

Additionally, our dietary choices can also affect our TMJ health. Consuming a diet high in inflammatory foods can exacerbate symptoms, while a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods can help to alleviate them.

Common Lifestyle Habits That Exacerbate TMJ


Many of the habits that can worsen TMJ are unconscious behaviors that we may not even be aware we are doing. For instance, habitual teeth clenching or grinding, often due to stress or anxiety, can put a great deal of pressure on the TMJ, leading to pain and discomfort.

Poor posture, particularly when sitting or sleeping, can also contribute to TMJ problems. When our neck and head are not properly aligned, it can place stress on the TMJ, leading to discomfort and potentially exacerbating existing conditions.

Tips for Prevention of TMJ Issues


Prevention is always better than cure, and this adage holds for TMJ disorders as well. By making a few simple lifestyle changes, you can help prevent TMJ issues from arising or keep existing symptoms from worsening.

Firstly, managing stress is crucial to preventing TMJ issues. This could be through activities such as yoga, meditation, or simply taking time each day to relax and unwind. It's also important to be aware of any habitual teeth clenching or grinding and to seek help if these behaviors are causing you discomfort.

Maintaining good posture is another key preventative measure. When sitting, ensure your feet are flat on the floor and your back is straight. When sleeping, try to avoid sleeping on your stomach, as this can place pressure on the jaw and neck.

Lastly, a healthy diet can also go a long way in preventing TMJ issues. Try to limit your intake of sugar, caffeine, and alcohol, and instead focus on consuming a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

When to Seek Medical Advice for Your TMJ


While lifestyle changes can go a long way in managing TMJ symptoms, it's important to seek medical advice if your symptoms persist or worsen. This is particularly important if you're experiencing severe pain, or if your TMJ symptoms are impacting your ability to eat, speak, or perform other daily tasks.

Your dentist can guide the best course of treatment for your specific situation, which may include medication, or in some cases, surgery. They can also provide further advice on lifestyle changes that can help to manage your symptoms.

Take Steps to Help Manage Your TJM Today


Our lifestyle habits play a significant role in our TMJ health. By understanding how lifestyle affects TMJ, we can make informed decisions to prevent and manage this common condition. Whether it's making time for relaxation, improving our posture, or adjusting our diet, these small changes can have a big impact on our well-being.

To learn more about how lifestyle affects TMJ and tips for prevention and relief, visit Eagle Gate Dental at our office in Salt Lake City, Utah. Call 801-781-5300 to book an appointment today.