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Reducing Your Risk of Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)
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.
Don’t 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.
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Okeson, Jeffrey. Clinical Management of Temporomandibular Disorders and Occlusion. 6th ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby 2007.
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TMD/TMJ (temporomandibular disorders). American Dental Association website. Available at: http://www.ada.org/ . Accessed September 17, 2008.
TMJ. American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at: http://www.entnet.org/ . Accessed September 17, 2008.
TMJ (temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders). National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research website. Available at: http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/Topics/TMJ/ . Updated August 2008. Accessed September 17, 2008.
Last reviewed October 2012 by Peter Lucas, MD
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