Since 2020, mask-wearing has become a daily practice for most people. Brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, mask-wearing has become one of the top requirements when we’re outdoors or indoors. With a wide availability of different masks, it is now considered a wardrobe staple. Although its efficiency in disease prevention is praised upon, there are also its risks! One of them is the risk of developing Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder.
As COVID-19 drags on, TMJ specialists claim that there has been an increase in TMJ cases with worsening symptoms like jaw pain and headaches. The anxiety we feel and the mask-wearing combination puts stress on jaws, developing aches brought about by TMJ disorder. If you or someone in your family is experiencing this, discuss it with your family dentist immediately!
Meanwhile, let’s first talk about how to watch out for TMJ pain from constant mask-wearing.
What’s the relation between the two?
TMJ Disorder can be brought on by a number of factors, such as genetics, stress and anxiety, jaw injuries, and arthritis. But its pain development can also manifest from constant mask-wearing.
When wearing a mask, our mouths have a natural tendency to be in a position where our lips are pursed together or our teeth are clenched. This “tensed” position builds up some tension in our mouths, causing jaw and facial muscles to be fatigued. And when they are overworked, you will surely feel the pain!
Sometimes, it’s not just the position of your mouth. There are some masks that don’t give us the comfort we need. Ear-loops tugging on our ears could be a source of pain in the long run. When they pull down on your ear, this affects the areas across the jaw joints and the face almost instantly. These types of stress may give you throbbing headaches as the affected nerves travel all over your head!
And lastly, with mask-wearing, you may not be as mindful of your breathing as you should be. With mask-wearing, we have the natural tendency to breathe through our mouths, leaving our jaw slightly open for the whole day. Imagine the tension that builds up in the jaw muscle!
Simple Tips to Avoid TMJ Pain
When it comes to mask-wearing, invest in ear savers or extenders that relieve you from the compression brought on by ear loops.
Aside from that, learn to breathe through your nose! Nasal breathing not only relaxes your mouth and your jaw, but it helps you filter the air you breathe. You’ll be protected from pollution, pollen, and dust, as well as parasites, fungi, and viruses with the nitric oxide your sinus passage produces.
In curing or avoiding TMJ pain, practice some mouth or jaw exercises even at home. With a simple Google or YouTube search, you’ll find a wide array of multiple exercises you can do throughout the day. In just a few minutes, you’ll get some relief!
The simplest way to avoid or handle TMJ pain is to be mindful. Being mindful alone goes a long way. Pick the right reusable masks that first give you comfort and safety, and being stylish or fashionable comes second.
Wear your masks properly and practice breathing from your nose only. Although, once you experience TMJ pain or headaches related to mask-wearing, don’t be afraid to seek professional help!
If you’re looking for reputable dentists in Chattanooga, the Shallowford Family Dental Group should be your go-to! Your dental care will be given by a team of doctors of a variety of specialties. If you’re ready for a new experience with a top-rated dental care center, call us today at (423) 892-4477.