This week is dental health week. Dental Health Week is the Australian Dental Association’s major annual oral health promotion event. Its aim is to educate Australians about the importance of maintaining good oral health by promoting these key messages (1):
• Brush twice a day with a toothpaste that contains fluoride.
• Clean in between teeth at least once a day with floss or an interdental brush.
• Eat a healthy, balanced diet and limit sugar intake.
• Regularly visit the dentist for check-ups and preventive treatment.
Closely related to our teeth of course is our temporomandibular joint, otherwise known as TMJ. TMJ pain is one of our key areas to address as osteopaths.
Grinding, clicking, clenching, popping, locking and general jaw pain are all associated symptoms of TMJ related issues. Furthermore, often the TMJ is left untreated when addressing the most common complaints such as headaches and neck pain.
Signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders may include:
- Pain or tenderness of your jaw
- Pain in one or both of the temporomandibular joints
- Aching pain in and around your ear
- Difficulty chewing or pain while chewing
- Aching facial pain
- Locking of the joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth
The exact cause of a person's TMJ disorder is often difficult to determine. Your pain may be due to a combination of factors, such as genetics, arthritis, jaw injury, or stress. Some people who have jaw pain also tend to clench or grind their teeth (bruxism), although many people habitually clench or grind their teeth and never develop TMJ disorders (2).
As osteopaths, we address the whole body when it comes to diagnosis and treatment. We work closely with all your associated health professionals in order to best manage your case.