The Connection Between Pregnancy, Motherhood and TMJ Pain

Mother’s Day was May 11, which makes this an appropriate time to talk about the importance of motherhood and complications from TMJ disorders during and after pregnancy.

motherhoodAvoiding stress during pregnancy seems like obvious advice, but it’s surprising how many expecting moms overlook this aspect of their health. Instead, expecting moms focus mostly on healthy eating and taking their folic acid supplements. But for sufferers of TMJ disorders, it is especially important to be vigilant regarding your oral health. Too much stress can lead to teeth grinding, which causes a whole host of complications for pregnant and postpartum women.

Congratulations! You’re Expecting

If you’re pregnant, one of the most important things you can do is maintain your current teeth brushing regimen. Use a soft bristled toothbrush. Regularly floss your teeth and continue to rinse with over-the-counter mouthwashes. If you are experiencing morning sickness, you may need to alter your regimen slightly. Don’t brush your teeth first thing in the morning. Instead, wait until morning sickness subsides. You will want to brush your teeth with due caution to make sure no acidic stomach contents or residue remain on the enamel.

The Nine Month Strategy

During your pregnancy, continue to take care of yourself. Schedule plenty of time for relaxation activities. Remember to follow the advice given by your obstetrician and your TMJ professional.

After Delivery Care

Many mothers believe the most stressful part of their pregnancy will be labor and delivery. After giving birth, they ignore stress management techniques completely and focus on the responsibilities of parenthood. This is a mistake. In fact, the postpartum period is one where women are most at risk when experiencing high levels of stress. A new baby in need of nursing and nurturing places all sorts of demands on new moms.

One of the best things you can do is take care of yourself. If possible, schedule some time for yourself. Invest your spare time in stress-relieving exercises like yoga or Pilates. Hire a babysitter or ask a reliable friend to watch your infant to get some much-needed away-time. You may be surprised at the number of friends you have who will jump at the chance to watch a newborn!

The Failure to Relax

Failure to relax during the postpartum period can have dire consequences. An unfortunate side-effect of teeth grinding is the resultant pressure it creates on the jawbone. This in turn can lead to cracked teeth, and in some instances a root canal may be required. This can be a painful procedure and a further complication for moms who are breastfeeding and cannot take narcotic pain relief.

To all mothers, even expecting ones, MedCenter TMJ hopes you had the happiest and most relaxing of Mother’s Days!


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