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Understanding Jaw Joint Pain And How To Find Relief

Published date field Last Updated:

Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

Speaking—Chewing—Yawning. What do they all have in common? They all require a healthy jaw joint or temporomandibular joint (TMJ). But when there’s even a hint of jaw joint pain — it makes your life very difficult.

While it can be hard to pinpoint the cause of the pain, it’s crucial to identify the best way to treat it so your jaw joint goes back to working correctly without pain so you can go about your life.

How To Find Relief Through Avoidance

If identified in the early stages, home treatments and self remedies can do the trick in providing temporary jaw pain relief. The best way to do that is to limit and avoid certain items and actions:

  • Avoid chewy or sticky foods
  • Avoid crunchy foods
  • Avoid tough cuts of meat
  • Avoid difficult-to-eat foods

Instead, slicing up softer food items and meals into significantly smaller bites go a long way in temporarily relieving your jaw pain.

How To Find Relief Through Relaxation

Rest, and relaxation work wonders for many ailments — and has proven to be an excellent home remedy for jaw pain. Some instances or habits are painful, but by relaxing the jaw, the pain should noticeably subside. Focus on basic mouth movement and keeping it in a soft, relaxed position, instead of:

  • Holding your jaw tensely
  • Clenching your teeth subconsciously
  • Opening the jaw while yawning and overextending the muscle

You can also relieve jaw joint pain by:

  • Wearing a nightguard to avoid tooth clenching and grinding
  • Applying an ice pack to reduce swelling
  • Applying a warm, moist washcloth to prevent stiffness
  • Opening mouth slowly while brushing your teeth very gently

How Do You Seek Help?

Sometimes you’ll need to seek aid beyond at-home remedies. Consult your medical or dental professional to discuss other jaw and joint pain relief options, including:

  • Prescribing pain relievers or muscle relaxers to address joint pain from clenching
  • Inserting a splint to help stabilize the joint
  • Working with a physical therapist directly to thoroughly learn how to relax and stretch the jaw
  • Consulting with a therapist to help eliminate stress

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that TMJ issues affect a jaw-dropping 10 million people each year. But when you find the right treatment for you, your jaw joint pain should drop off as well.


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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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