As we age, our joints begin to wear and bones begin to lose density. This can increase TMJ problems. But with preventative care you can keep your jaw healthy and functioning properly well into your Golden Years. Our Houston TMJ professionals have put together an essential list of tips that can be used to protect your jaw health as you age.
Tip #1 – Take Calcium Supplements
Osteoporosis becomes a serious concern as a person gets older. As we age bone tissue creation slows and we lose bone density everywhere, including our mandible and the other bones surrounding the TMJ. When bones lose density, misalignment can occur and the TMJ loses some of its support. People can fight off osteoporosis by taking a daily calcium supplement. Upping your calcium intake will help the body continue to produce bone tissue so that bones stay strong.
Tip #2 – Regularly Stretch the Jaw Muscles
For years we’ve always been told we should stretch our muscles before working out to avoid injury. Well, there are many muscles surrounding the jaw that have to work hard every day to help you speak and chew food. Each morning take a few minutes to stretch and massage the jaw muscles. This will help relax the muscles and keep them limber.
Tip #3 – Don’t Overwork Your Jaw
The temporomandibular joint is one of the most frequently used joints in the body. Chewing gum, eating hard foods and excessive talking all take their toll on your jaw over time. Any time joints and muscles are overworked they become strained and are more susceptible to injury. Your TMJ needs rest to recover just like any other part of your body, especially on days when you’ve done a lot of talking or eating.
Tip #4 – Eat a Healthy Diet
We are what we eat – this old saying definitely applies to our oral health. Consuming a balanced diet with fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein and whole grains supports your overall health, which is good for the TMJ. It’s especially important to reduce starchy and sugary foods because these can cause acid erosion in teeth.
Tip #5 – Visit the Dentist Often
Your teeth today are very different than when they first started to peek out of your gums. Teeth are incredibly resilient for the amount of work that they have to do, but wear and tear is inevitable. For people with bruxism the issue can arise much sooner in life as grinding and clenching puts additional stress on teeth.
Regular visits to your dentist every six months can help keep your teeth in the best shape possible. Your dentist can monitor changes and intervene sooner to correct any issues before they lead to a more serious problem.
Following these tips can help you better manage TMJ symptoms and keep them from getting worse as you age. If you are currently experiencing TMJ pain, our dentists at MedCenter TMJ can help diagnose the cause and create a treatment plan that addresses the problem. The sooner you put a TMJ treatment plan in place the easier it is to manage TMD as you age.