Reducing Your Risk of Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)
by Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD
There are a few things you can do to try to reduce your risk of developing TMD. These include:
Reduce Stress in Your Life
Stress and anxiety can cause you to develop habits (such as jaw clenching, tooth grinding, gum chewing) that predispose you to TMD. Learn effective ways to relieve stress, so that you won’t develop potentially detrimental habits.
Avoid Clenching Your Jaw and/or Grinding Your Teeth
These nervous habits can increase your risk of TMD. Learn other ways of dealing with stress. You may also want to talk to your dentist about wearing a night guard, a plastic device that is worn at night to reduce harmful effects of grinding your teeth.
Do Not Chew Gum Too Frequently
Frequent gum chewing may make you more prone to TMD by over-exercising your jaw joint.
Protect Yourself from Injury
Make sure you take appropriate precautions to avoid injuring your jaw because jaw injuries increase your risk of developing TMD. Wear mouth guards for contact sports, helmets for riding sports, and always wear your seatbelt when in a car. If you’re an adult, ride in cars that have air bags.
If your teeth are misaligned, an orthodontist will be able to better align them, which might prevent TMD
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated May 11, 2015. Accessed February 22, 2017.
TMJ. American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at:
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Updated December 2010. Accessed February 22, 2017.
TMJ (temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders). National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research website. Available at: https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/oralhealth/Topics/TMJ/TMJDisorders.htm. Updated April 2015. Accessed February 22, 2017.
Last reviewed February 2017 by Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
Last Updated: 3/15/2015
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