If you grind your teeth at night, you could be causing serious issues for the rest of your mouth. According to your dentist, grinding your teeth can cause problems with your TMJ, or temporomandibular joint. Your TMJ is the joint that connects your skull to your lower jaw allowing your lower and upper jaw to close and open properly. Your TMJ also helps you speak and chew.
Temporomandibular muscle and joint disorders cause dysfunction and pain in your muscles and your jaw joints. Recent studies have indicated that more than 10 million people in the United States suffer from some form of TMJ disorders.
The American Dental Association explains that TMJ disorders affect more women than men. In fact, women are nine times more likely to deal with TMJ disorders than men are. Although researchers are not quite sure what causes TMJ, there are some conditions that could reveal why women suffer more.
One of the biggest reasons is the difference between the muscle density and bone, and although the answer isn’t quite clear, men have more density and bone.
Another reason women may suffer more from TMJ disorders is that they are more likely to grind or clench their teeth. Although teeth grinding can happen anytime during the day or night, most people are not even aware that they are doing it.
Stress may be another reason that more women suffer from TMJ disorders as pain and stress affect women differently. Hormones also play a huge role in how women deal with stress. In fact, your dentist explains that stress is the main reason for tooth grinding, tooth clenching, and a condition known as bruxism.
Migraine headaches may also be to blame for TMJ disorders as there is new evidence that suggests that people who suffer from migraines, and yes, more women have migraines than men, clench their jaws because of the pain. In fact, jaw muscles are nearly 70 percent larger in people who suffer from migraines.
Arthritis is another reason that women may suffer more from TMJ disorders. Again, women are more likely to suffer from joint diseases and are therefore more apt to have chronic joint deterioration and pain. Your mandibular joint is just like the joints in your knees, wrists, and fingers and can also be affected by rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Although there is no known cure for TMJ disorders, there are some things that your dentist can do to help deal with the pain such as custom-made mouthguards.
If you are dealing with TMJ disorders or suffer from consistent jaw joint pain, schedule an appointment with your dentist today.