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TMJ Disorder Requires Life Adjustment

Posted Mar 28 2009 3:06pm

Many illnesses and disorders require the people suffering from them to make life changes. Everyone knows someone who's had to lose weight and change eating habits because of diabetes. You probably also know someone who's had to avoid certain foods because of severe allergic reactions. Maybe you know people who must avoid the sun because of repeated skin cancers.

TMJ Disorder Requires Life Changes

Having TMJ Disorder is no different. For some reason, people don't think of TMJD as a life-altering disorder. They think there's a quick fix at the dental or doctor office. A pill. A mouth applicance. Surgery. Orthodontia work. Bridge work. Grinding teeth down. Bite alteration. Just fix it quick so I can go back to the nachos and margaritas, is the attitude of so many.

Once a person has had a severe bout of TMJ Disorder, however, things need to change. For some, drastic irreversible procedures may work. Unfortunately, this is a gamble, because for many the condition is worse after the irreversible procedure is performed. For others, mouth guards to help protect the teeth from nocturnal grinding and clenching are helpful. A study out of Wayne State University, however, declared that these devices are only effective for about three weeks. After this amount of time, the person adjusts to the device in his/her mouth and simply begins grinding and clenching on it. This may not be true for all people. It was true for me, however.

Changes Can be Simple

A life change does not have to be dramatic. The most important place to start looking at possible changes to make is in one's diet. One simply must eliminate crunchy, chewy foods that aggravate the jaw. It's well worth cutting back on, or eliminating, alcohol consumption, as drinking alcohol is a known cause of nocturnal grinding. Maybe caffeine will have to be eliminated- another known contributor to nocturnal clenching. Even over the counter drugs can exacerbate this condition.

Do No Harm

If you suffer from TMJ Disorder, it may be time that you adopt the "Do No Harm" policy and begin being kind to your body. This may involve a change in diet, practicing stress reduction, adopting an exercise regimen, eliminating toxic habits (like smoking, chewing tobacco, drinking alcohol and caffeine products). Absolutely one should stop using illegal drugs of any kind, even if used "only recreationally." No matter how benign you think your drug usage is, it is highly toxic, stress inducing and harmful to your body.

Time and and a softer diet work wonders for the majority of TMJ Disorder sufferers. Others, unfortunately, do require further intervention. You can find a number of easy-to-cook, easy-to-chew recipes in You Can Conquer TMJ:Recipes and Ideas, available at,, and
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