TMJ Causes and Risk Factors
- Grinding the teeth
- Hormonal imbalance
- Birth control pills
- A poor diet / vitamin deficiencies
- Frequent gum chewing
- Pain and achiness around the jaw, neck, face, ears and shoulders (2)
- Problems chewing normally and pain when eating
- Clicking or popping sounds in the jaw when chewing
- Trouble sleeping normally
- Ringing in the ears
- Joint pain
- Muscle spasms and swelling around the jaw and face
1. DietFollowing an anti-inflammatory diet is an important part of TMJ treatment. Foods that can help relieve TMJ symptoms include:
- Foods that are easy to chew: Soft foods that are easy to chew, including soups, smoothies and cooked vegetables can help limit jaw pain when eating. (3)
- Small meals: Blood sugar fluctuations can lead to teeth grinding. Eating smaller meals can help stabilize blood sugar levels.
- Steamed vegetables: Steamed vegetables are easy to chew and they provide the body with essential nutrients to promote healing.
- Foods rich in magnesium: The body uses magnesium to relax and release tension in tight muscles. (4)
- Sugar: Sugar increases inflammation in the body and weakens the immune system.
- Caffeine: Too much caffeine can dehydrate the muscles and increase muscle tension.
- Alcohol: Drinking alcohol before bed can lead to teeth grinding at night, which is listed among TMJ causes.
- Gum: Gum, caramels or any candy that is hard to chew can worsen TMJ. (5)
- Tough foods: Dry cuts of meat or other foods that are tough to chew can worsen symptoms.
- Magnesium: Magnesium is an important part of TMJ treatment. Take 250 mg 2-3 times per day to help relax the muscles and the nervous system. (6)
- Calcium: Calcium works alongside magnesium to aid in muscle relaxation. Take 500 mg twice a day.
- Kava: Kava can help relax the muscles and reduce anxiety. Take 70 mg three times per day.
- MSM: MSM is a natural anti-inflammatory that works to reduce muscle spasms. Take 1,000 mg three times per day. (7)
- B-Complex: B-complex vitamins can help lower stress levels and reduce inflammation. Take 50 mg twice a day.
3. Essential OilsCertain essential oils can be used in TMJ treatment to help naturally relieve pain and relax the muscles. Essential oils for TMJ treatment include:
- Peppermint Essential Oil: Peppermint oil provides a cooling sensation and has a calming effect on the body. Use peppermint oil to help release tight muscles and relieve pain.
- Frankincense Essential Oil: Frankincense oil promotes feelings of peace and relaxation. Use frankincense oils to help lower inflammation levels, reduce stress to relieve TMJ pain. (8)
- Lavender Essential Oil: Lavender oil is known for its calming properties. Use lavender to help relax tense muscles, reduce anxiety and fight insomnia.