The ability to chew food is something you might take for granted—that is, until it becomes painful or difficult. Dental issues can cause chewing difficulties,which can lead to poor nutrition and other health problems. For your wellbeing, it’s important to uncover the cause of your chewing problem and do something about it.
TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder, occurs when there is inflammation, muscle strain, or other problems in the joint connecting your lower jaw to your skull. You may hear clicking sounds or feel pain while chewing. Sometimes, there is also a stiffness or lack of mobility that makes eating certain foods difficult. TMJ can be treated by medications such as muscle relaxants or anti-inflammatories. You can also do exercises to strengthen your jaw muscles. Sometimes TMJ can be caused by tooth grinding or clenching. If that is the case, your dentist may prescribe a night guard.
Teeth Alignment Issues
When your teeth don’t align correctly, you may have difficulty biting into something, like an apple or sandwich. Chewing foods can take longer than usual, and you may have pain in your teeth or jaw. The misalignment of teeth could cause uneven pressure on your teeth and even lead to TMJ disorder. Alignment issues can occur at any time in your life. Often, missing teeth can cause shifts leading to problems. Getting braces is not just for children. More adults are seeking orthodontist treatment to correct teeth alignment issues. Braces can resolve the issues and get you back to chewing normally.
Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, can result in painful chewing. The first symptom is usually red and inflamed gums, which can become very sensitive when eating. Spaces between the teeth and between teeth and gums widen, allowing food to get stuck in and bacteria to grow in what are called “pockets.” Good dental hygiene routines are the first defense in preventing gum disease, but you may also need professional treatment. Deep cleaning or scaling treatments can remove plaque below the gum line and reduce the pockets.
If you are experiencing pain or difficulty chewing, it’s a sign that something serious is going on, and you should consult a dentist. Left untreated, dental problems can escalate or turn into chronic problems that affect your overall nutrition and health. The good news is, there are many treatments available that will help you.
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