Risk Factors for Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)

A risk factor raises your chances of getting a disease or health problem.

You can get TMD with or without the risk factors listed here. But the more risk factors you have, the greater your chances of getting TMD. If you have many risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to lower your risk.

Risk factors are:

Stress-related Habits

Some habits that may raise your risk are:

  • Clenching and unclenching your jaw
  • Biting your lip
  • Biting your nails
  • Grinding your teeth during the day or at night in your sleep
  • Chewing things like gum or hard candy for a long time

Health Problems

The problems may raise your risk:

  • Teeth or a bite that is not in line
  • Jaw or facial deformities
  • Arthritic problems like:
  • Past jaw or facial injuries
  • Psychological problems, such as stress


Most people report TMD symptoms between the ages of 20 and 40.


TMD is more common in women.



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Temporomandibular disorders. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/temporomandibular-disorders. Updated February 20, 2018. Accessed July 29, 2019.
Temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) pain. ENThealth—American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at:
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TMJ. Mouth Healthy—American Dental Association website. Available at:
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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. Accessed July 29, 2019.
Last reviewed June 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD
Last Updated: 10/14/2019

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