Eat This: TMJ

What is the most important nutrient that we need for a long and healthy life? I’m going to say that you’re not going to get it, but I’m going to circle back to answer that shortly. If your mouth or jaw hurts, how do you think that’s going to affect how and what you eat? If you’re in pain all the time, that means that your adrenal glands are responding to pain seen as stress. If you’re not sleeping well, then everything is off and your quality of life, your energy, mood, stamina, and overall health is not what it could be. Your mouth is hopefully full of teeth, your saliva is flowing because it’s the first enzyme to start the process of digestion, your jaw is hopefully in line and your teeth come together so you can easily chew your food with those pearly whites aka your teeth. But what if it hurts to chew? What if your bite is off and you’re working those jaw muscles in a way that’s not lined up right? Have you noticed soreness in your jaw in the morning or late afternoon? Or what about headaches, pain that spreads behind the eyes, you feel it in your face, shoulder, neck, and/or back. How about dizziness, numbness or tingling sensations in your fingers?

Yes that’s all outside of your mouth, but could it come from your jaw? It makes sense if your jaw is clicking or popping, maybe your jaw locks and you have limited movement, maybe you clench or grind your teeth, and your mouth and teeth don’t feel like it fits together. All that I’ve mentioned could come from that local pain that might send you off to see your dentist. And what if it is from the temporomandibular or TMJ joint? 

The symptoms of TMD may look like other conditions or medical problems.

According to the Mayo Clinic, The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. You have one joint on each side of your jaw. TMJ disorders — a type of temporomandibular disorder or TMD — can cause pain in your jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement.

Poor posture and an overworking of your muscles in your jaw. Something is off to be suffering with TMJ, and likely structurally. Your bite could cause your muscles to work excessively, just like your work as a painter overhead painting the ceiling all day long means your posture is going to suffer. Just as your bite is in a position that’s not working with you – one of the big reasons for your bite being off, can be chronic mouth breathing which we covered in episode 90. The more that I’ve researched this, the more there is to learn. And while it seems like such a simple thing, what hit me square between the eyes as I was listening to another dentist speak about mouth breathing, sleep apnea and TMJ to prepare for this episode is the oxygen, yes O2, is THE most important nutrient that there is. And while I talk about all the antioxidants in my Kid Boost supplement that help keep your cells healthy, the Omega Boost for helping inflammation and even Cell Mins for all the minerals that your are essential in every cell – without oxygen, we aren’t living so no other supplement is going to make up for a lack of oxygen. And taking a step back, that means that how we are breathing needs our focus. A quick reminder is that if you are a mouth breather because you’re stuffed up, because you have TMJ, because you have sleep apnea (but which came first – mouth breathing or airway obstruction for a reason like being overweight), then training yourself to breathe through your nose can have profound effects on sleep, mood, heart disease, how you feel in the morning – like eliminating brain fog, and your energy. 

With TMJ, we need the muscles to relax. From what I understand, the look of someone with TMJ, is not how they could be – the jaw is set back seems to be the most common situation. When the form or jaw is in place, the function of the jaw changes for the better. When the jaw comes forward, you breathe better. 

Dr Lawrence Freedman, who is my dentist and who looks after my girls too, joins us again this week. Dr Freedman has been in dentistry for 32 years. He’s a dentist that doesn’t stop learning and he became interested in pain disorders. His special interest is in TMJ problems, orthodontics, and full mouth rehabilitation, as well as overall health and looking at the jaw and mouth as it has to do with the rest of your body. I’ll let him explain more about what he does and I think this will be an eye opening discussion for so many. So let’s welcome back, Dr Freedman.

The following are the most common signs and symptoms of TMD (disorder):

  • Jaw discomfort or soreness (often most prevalent in the morning or late afternoon)
  • Headaches
  • Pain spreading behind the eyes, in the face, shoulder, neck, and/or back
  • Earaches or ringing in the ears (not caused by an infection of the inner ear canal)
  • Clicking or popping of the jaw
  • Locking of the jaw
  • Limited mouth motions
  • Clenching or grinding of the teeth
  • Dizziness
  • Sensitivity of the teeth without the presence of an oral health disease
  • Numbness or tingling sensation in the fingers
  • A change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together

The symptoms of TMD may look like other conditions or medical problems. See a dentist or your doctor for a diagnosis.

Where is TMJ pain felt?

It hurts over the joint, immediately in front of the ear, but pain can also radiate elsewhere. It often causes spasms in the adjacent muscles attached to the bones of the skull, face, and jaws. Pain can also be felt at the side of the head (the temple), the cheek, the lower jaw, and the teeth.

Common symptoms include jaw tenderness, headaches, earaches and facial pain.

Have you subscribed yet? Upcoming episodes are going to include TMJ with Dr Freedman and a few other loyal listener questions, and you don’t want to miss out. 

Learn more about Dr Freedman here. 

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