Like other oral health structures, your jaws are precious. The jawbones hold the roots of teeth in place, protecting them, while also contributing to all oral function by connecting the temporomandibular joints (TMJs) to the skull. A jaw injury can seriously disrupt oral function and one’s quality of life – especially if jaw surgery is required. When jaw surgery is required, it means that the jaws and/or their placement have been significantly affected by trauma. Following are some helpful tips for protecting your jaws and avoiding injuries.
Avoid Eating Sticky and Chewy Foods on a Regular Basis
Chewing on sticky and tough foods might be appetizing but if you eat something like jerky or taffy regularly, you could be setting your jaws and the TMJs up for injury. Even though we can move our mouths laterally (from side-to-side), we shouldn’t do so often. If we eat sticky, chewy, or tough foods all the time, we will strain our TMJs and the connective soft tissues around them. Moreover, doing this can lead to issues with jaw alignment with the TMJ. Eating these foods in moderation is fine, but eating them frequently will stress and strain the jaws, TMJs, and facial muscles.
Wear Protective Sports Gear
If you play contact sports or engage in high-risk physical activities, you should be especially protective of your jaws. If your sport of activity of choice recommends that its participants wear protective gear like helmets, chin straps, and mouthguards, you absolutely should invest in this equipment and wear it frequently to prevent painful and damaging facial injuries.
Schedule Routine Oral Examinations
Routine examinations are a great way to monitor your oral health – including the health of your occlusion and jawbones. A checkup is a great time to bring up any new issues you’re experiencing such as clicking or popping jaws or facial pain. If you already have issues with your jaw health, the TMJs, or your bite, knowing so as soon as possible and addressing these issues with treatment before they become too advanced will help you preserve your oral health and quality of life.
Call us today at Central Oklahoma Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates to schedule a consultation with our oral surgeon if you have questions about jaw surgery or have been referred to our practice.