Snap, Crackle, Pop? How To Get Relief From Your TMJ

Posted on: 28 February 2016

Your eyes flutter open in the peaceful morning light, and you smile, stretching your arms above your head and yawning wide – crack. Most people, sometime in their lives, will have their jaw crack in the morning, but for people who clench their teeth, it can become so common that it would border on tedium if not for the discomfort and/or pain that accompanies the crack. If you're looking for ways to not only prevent the pain and cracking but also to stop the damage to your jaw from getting worse, then here's what you need to know.

Guard Your Mouth

Mouth guards are fantastic for many athletic activities, but they can also protect your jaw and teeth against the wear and tear that accompanies people who clench their teeth at night. However, you shouldn't just go to the supermarket and pick up the first mouth guard that looks like it'll fit; going to your dentist (who has probably already noticed that you clench during the night) and asking for a dental mouth guard ensures not only a perfect fit, but also a more comfortable experience than just shoving a hunk of plastic in your mouth.

Change Your Pillow

Your pillow won't cause you to clench, per se, but it can definitely exacerbate your clenching tendencies if it doesn't support your head and jaw. For best relief, try to learn to sleep on your back, and invest in a memory foam pillow. Memory foam will perfectly contour itself to your shape and support you without feeling obnoxious or bulky. Lots of the pillows can be heated or chilled as well, which can help you get more comfortable if sleeping on your back feels a bit unnatural. For even more help, consider a memory foam pillow with aromatics built in; smells like lavender and eucalyptus can help relax your muscles and your brain, leading to better and more restorative sleep.

Up Your Magnesium

You've probably heard that the majority of your health depends on your nutrition, and the health of your jaw muscles is no exception to this general rule. In order to relieve the tension in your jaw muscles from the inside out, try upping the amount of magnesium you ingest. This doesn't mean you have to go out and purchase a ton of magnesium supplements – try including more foods that naturally contain magnesium, such as nuts, seeds (such as pumpkin or other squash seeds), avocado, and all types of fish.

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