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How Chewing Gum Can Make Jaw Pain Constant Instead of Occasional

Posted on 5/24/2021 by Dr. Chad Rebhun
How Chewing Gum Can Make Jaw Pain Constant Instead of OccasionalChewing gum is very common, and can be great in keeping saliva production active, maintaining a fresh mouth, or beating cravings, but it can cause some pain in the jaw if it is chewed excessively. Chewing gum uses the jaw muscles. Some chew more than one piece at a time, and depending on the size of the gum itself, the chewing can put a lot of pressure on the jaw muscles.

Temporomandibular Dysfunction

Temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD) is when the joints in the jaw become misaligned. Exercise for jaw muscles is not harmful, but just like any other muscle in the body, the jaw muscles can become overworked. When the jaw muscles become overworked it may lead to spasms in the jaw, neck, or head. The spasms then progress to misalignment due to the stress of the muscles, or the cartilage of the jaw degenerates. The cartilage in the jaw acts as shock absorbers, which keeps our jaw aligned while chewing regularly. The symptoms of temporomandibular dysfunction can include discomfort while chewing, difficulty opening and closing the jaw, and sounds such as popping or clicking when opening and closing the mouth. It is also possible that ear aches and headaches develop.

Chronic gum chewing has also been associated with migraines due to the tightening of facial muscles. Gum chewing is not a problem in itself, in fact, like previously mentioned it can actually be great for your teeth. Chronic use, however, can lead to issues including TMD. If you are experiencing discomfort in the jaw, a warm compress and over the counter medication may alleviate discomfort, but it may be best to give us all with any concerns related to jaw discomfort. If you have additional questions about TMD, or jaw discomfort, we are here to help.

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