When people suffer from various dental or oral conditions, even the simplest of activities such as gum chewing can cause severe or chronic pain and possibly even damage. This is oftentimes the case with people who struggle with TMJ.
It is estimated that the average person chews 300 pieces of gum per year! That is a staggering amount, nearly one and three-quarter trillion pieces alone were chewed last year. And for people who have issues with TMJ, even one piece could have lasting negative effects for weeks. One of the things about gum chewing is the fact that it is a passive action that we don't pay much attention to. And as the gum loses its flavor or we find ourselves in a tense or high anxiety situation such as attending a meeting at work or watching an especially dramatic movie or TV show, we could end up chomping away without even realizing it.
Repetitious Movement Even when we aren't particularly stressed, just the continuous repetitious movement of chewing, especially on one side, can lead to an onslaught of TMJ symptoms. If it is done regularly or for an extended period of time, it could ultimately lead to the jaw actually slipping out of alignment and causing a number of related problems. For those who simply must chew gum in place of smoking, eating, or during athletic events or other such things, remembering to switch sides regularly and popping in a fresh piece once the one you have is starting to lose flavor can go a long way in reducing TMJ effects.
The main thing to realize it that if something as simple as chewing gum is causing you any type of pain, the best thing that you can do is to stop by our offices and let us see what we can do to treat or resolve the problem in a more permanent fashion.