Preventative habit re-training for Temporo-Mandibular Joint Pain and Myofacial Pain:
- Suppress yawns with the first knuckle on back of hand or first two fingers.
- Eliminate thick crusty sandwiches or any wide opening while eating (such as whole apples, corn on the cob, burgers etc). Also avoid cracking all hard or tough foods eg. Ice, carrots, nuts, toffees and chewing gum.
- Do not test your jaw by determining how wide you can open or how much you can move the lower jaw forward or to the sides or clench your teeth tightly together.
- The tongue is essentially a muscle – allow it to relax by resting on the floor of your mouth like a stingray does on the floor of the ocean. No tongue pressing, prodding or searching.
- Avoid holding objects in between your teeth, such as pins, pencils, toothpicks, pipes, thread and fingernails.
- Eliminate habits of opening the mouth wide, such as laughing, attempting to open your eustcian air tubes when coming down from high altitudes (aeroplanes, mountain driving) or any extensive movements of the jaw you may have acquired in various expressions of emotion.
- To help deactivate your lower jaw to minimize grinding, try to learn to sleep on your back. If you sleep on your side, be careful that your fist does not push your lower jaw around. If so, put your hand under your pillow. Do not sleep on your stomach at all as your lower jaw will take too much force from the weight of your skull.
- Remember, the only truly healthy position of your lower jaw and jaw joints goes with the saying, “lips together – teeth apart” but it should not be forward, left or right.