Which Everyday Habits Can Wreck Your TMJ Jaw Joints?

Bad Habits That Can Damage TMJ Jaw Joints 

It can be significant when you have pain in your temporomandibular joint, also referred to as TMJ. While at times it can become almost unnoticeable, the pain will be difficult to handle at other times. The causes of TMJ pain are many, but some of them could be caused by some of your habits. Eliminating the habit may help you to eliminate the pain. 

What Can Habits Aggravate TMJ Jaw Joints?

You may even be unaware of some habits that can cause pain in your TMJ, which can also be called a temporomandibular joint dysfunction, or TMD. These habits include:

1. Clenching Your Jaw

Clenching your jaw is often a reaction that many people do when they pick something up, such as weightlifters. Other people may have this habit throughout the day, and they may not even know it. Clenching teeth and keeping your jaw tight for long periods will cause jaw pain. It can also damage your teeth. Stress can make this problem worse.

2. Grinding Your Teeth

Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is a habit many people engage in, unaware of. This is because they do it in their sleep. Grinding your teeth while you sleep will result in damage to your teeth, causing them to become ground down, cracked, or chipped. Dental work that you had done previously can also be damaged. The pressure placed on your jaw joints while you sleep can lead to jaw joint pain.

A significant concern with teeth grinding is that there is a possibility that you have sleep apnea. Most people that have this problem are entirely unaware of it, but some symptoms can reveal the possibility. Teeth grinding is one of them since most people with sleep apnea grind their teeth. A second symptom is snoring loudly – which your bed partner could tell you about. A third symptom is that you are constantly tired. 

Because sleep apnea means that your heart and other organs are getting less oxygen than they need to be healthy, it can be a fatal disease. Getting a sleep test can help identify the problem – if you have it, and will also help you find a remedy.

3. Nail Biting

When you are biting your nails, you tend to extend your lower jaw forward. This places stress on your jaw joints. If you are nail-biting often, it can result in TMJ pain. 

4. Chewing Gum

If you like chewing gum a lot, you could end up with jaw pain. This problem affects young women more than young men. Chewing on gum a lot can overwork your jaw joints. Too much gum chewing can result in damage to your jaw joints, and it may become permanent.


When you are under more significant amounts of stress, you are more likely to engage in habits that can cause jaw pain. The above habits – clenching your teeth, teeth grinding, chewing gum, and nail-biting- often increase when facing more significant stress.

Stress can often be lowered by adding or changing some lifestyle habits. You can reduce it by starting a regular exercise program, listening to music, reading a book, taking a warm shower or bath, or just relaxing with family friends.

What Are The Symptoms of TMJ Problems?

In addition to tmj jaw pain, you might also have one or more other TMJ symptoms. These may include the following jaw problems:

  • A striking sound in your jaw when opening or closing it
  • Jaws that get stuck open or closed
  • Ringing in your ears
  • Problems with balance (vertigo or dizziness)
  • Headaches
  • Pain in your neck muscles – especially at the base of your skull
  • Increased fatigue.

Other Possible Causes For TMJ Jaw Joints Problems

Besides the above habits, some other things could cause jaw pain. This can include: 

a.Sinus Pain 

An infection in your sinuses can lead to jaw pain. Using medication for sinus relief can help you find out if sinus problems are the cause. If the pain goes away when using it – that is the cause.


A tooth can become infected, and it can spread to your jaw. You will get jaw pain relief when the cavity is treated.

c. Impacted Wisdom Teeth

A wisdom tooth that is impacted can become infected. The infection can spread and cause pain in your jaw joint. To get relief, you will need to have the wisdom tooth extracted, the infection drained, and antibiotics will likely be needed to eliminate the infection. 

What Are The Possible TMJ Treatments? 

TMJ pain is often temporary. If you have tried changing the habits mentioned above and still have TMJ pain, seeing a TMJ specialist can help you get the pain relief you need. Beyond the habits that can cause problems, several other things could be responsible.

If you have pain in your TMJ jaw joints or have already damaged your teeth from harmful habits, you can get help from Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, MS, MBA, FDSRCS, a Board Certified Periodontist. He offers a wide range of TMJ treatments, as well as help for teeth grinding. He also offers dental services for all ages and can help protect your teeth and restore your smile. His offices are in the Carrollton, Cedar Hill, Mockingbird/SMU and Grapevine; TX areas accept most dental health plans. You can contact his office for a consultation or dental checkup at (469)-470-2546