For temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) sufferers, doing everyday things like speaking and chewing can be a real pain. The good news is that if you have TMD, neuromuscular dentistry can help. The bad news is that it’s not a quick fix, and you could still experience interim pain between treatments. If you’re being treated for TMD, hang in there. If you’re still experiencing pain from your TMD and don’t want to rely on painkillers to get you through, here are some natural treatments you can try at home that have been shown to lessen symptoms and reduce pain.
If you haven’t already begun to treat your temporomandibular joint disorder with neuromuscular dentistry, please give Dr. Lederman’s office a call to schedule a TMD evaluation. Neuromuscular dentistry is a therapeutic process that helps realign the jaw and balance the bite, helping to eliminate the TMD pain and teeth grinding.
Change Your Diet
One of the quickest and easiest fixes for reducing TMD pain is to eliminate tough-to-chew foods from your diet. Foods like gum, taffy, jerky, gummy snacks, steak and pork require more effort to chew, putting more strain on your temporomandibular joint. Other foods to cut out are crunchy foods like raw vegetables, apples, chips, nuts, crackers and pretzels. Opt instead for soft foods like pasta, chicken, fish, citrus fruits, bananas, yogurt, soft cheese, hummus, nut butters and grains like quinoa, rice and cous-cous.
Pop a Vitamin
Taking an omega-3 supplement may help ease TMD pain because it helps to decrease inflammation in the body. Omega-3 can be found naturally in fish, dark leafy greens, tofu and some fortified milk products. Reducing inflammation won’t just benefit your TMD, either - it can reduce inflammation all over the body. Inflammation has been found to cause a number of different conditions from periodontitis to heart disease.
A hot compress sounds like a suggestion your grandma would have made, but this time-tested home remedy is actually very effective. Hot compresses can help relax the muscles of the neck and jaw, reducing stiffness, as well as increase the blood flow to the affected areas. Grandma was right all along!
Changing your sleeping position can make a noticeable difference in your TMD symptoms. Sleeping on your side, with a pillow positioned between your shoulder and neck for support, can eliminate some of the pressure put on your temporomandibular joint while you sleep.
While hot compresses soothe and relax, cold compresses can numb sore areas and reduce inflammation. We recommend icing your TMJ for up to 15 minutes with an ice pack wrapped in a cloth.
To learn more about how neuromuscular therapy can help your TMD symptoms, please give Dr. Lederman’s office a call at 516-882-1764.