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TMJ Disorder -TemporoMandibular Joint Message Board

To chew or not to chew gum

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Old 09-28-2003, 11:05 AM   #1
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Amby HB User
Question To chew or not to chew gum

Hi, I've had TMJ since early teens and shortly after I was diagnosed I discovered chewing gum to be very helpful because I felt this "loosened" the problem. It made it easier for me to open my mouth wide and to eat certain foods. I don't know if this is because of the tension it relieves in the joints/muscles? I'd chew it very often, feeling better and then after a doctor visit was told to stop ASAP. Since then, (years ago) I haven't had a piece of gum. I've had very bad pain, achy-ness, a tense feeling and stiffness as it becomes difficult to open my mouth. This especially happens in the morning after I wake. I don't grind my teeth but I may clench while sleeping. I had to break the bad habit of clenching my jaw at the computer or while driving, etc. Iím better at that now but I wish I could go back to chewing gum because I remember such relief from it. Doctor said it causes much more damage. Also, I notice if I massage my cheeks and by my ear itís easier to talk.

My question is has anyone else ever been told not to chew gum? Has gum helped anyone feel better?


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Old 09-28-2003, 02:07 PM   #2
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saaraah HB User

the thought of chewing gum makes my spine crawl. for me, my pain and symptoms get much worse after chewing, laughing, smiling, eating, etc. so chewing gum is a huuuuuuuuge no-no for me, since my problems are muscular related.

when i got botox, i had to chew gum right after it to make sure the botox was distributed throughout the chewing muscles. before that, tho, i hadnt chewed gum for about 8 or so years because of the warnings from my TMJD doctors.

i've read everywhere that if you have TMJD symptoms you should really avoid chewy foods and anything that puts extra strain on your TMJs.

i find it extremely interesting that gum helps you. i really dont know what to say about it.. have you discussed this with a dentist?

[This message has been edited by saaraah (edited 09-28-2003).]

Old 09-28-2003, 03:12 PM   #3
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Amby HB User

I know it is very strange, that's why I thought I'd post to see if anyone else had anything like this.

I also am in horrible pain after laughing or eating especially if I have to open my mouth up real wide to fit something in (like a bagel). I know it sounds crazy that gum helped but I just have this memory of it giving my jaw a loose, relaxed feeling while foods hurt it. I have no idea. No, I haven't mentioned this to a dentist. I know I should go to one and see what they can do to help. I will stay away from gum forever as I have been. Thank you for replying.

Old 09-28-2003, 05:03 PM   #4
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StylophonePet HB User

Hi Amby,
Nice to hear that I'm not the only "weirdo" concerning chewing gum
When I talked with my dentist about my jawpains the first time she practicly forbid me to chew any chewing gum.
Funny thing is that ever since I quit doing it, hoping that it would stop my headaches I've experienced more actual joint pains then ever before. At this point I really feel where the pain is exuding from, before that it was only very bad headaches and clicking
I've been crunching and grinding my teeth like a madman since that, I'd kill for some chewinggum right now!

I think that chewing gum relieves the stress off your muscles, replacing it with something to chew on instead of your teeth
Not like that's any better, but it does feel that way

Old 09-28-2003, 07:35 PM   #5
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TiffanyAnn HB User

I love to chew gum so I know how hard it is to give up. I miss chewing gum so much but it does make my jaw hurt so much more. I don't even try anymore. I'm hoping in time I will be able to chew gum again even if only on a limited basis.

Old 09-29-2003, 04:40 AM   #6
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RobynRose HB User

I must post on this one. Right prior to the onset of my jaw symptoms, I had horrendous headaches and facial pain/pressure. Chewing gum did bring some relief. One tmj consultand said I was actually putting stretch on muscles in spasm with the gum chewing... this in effect helped relax the muscles and brought some relief. The relief was always temporry though. Currently I won't chew gum becuase my jaw has become quite loose and dislocates. The problem has progressed, and gum chewing would not provide any help at this point. Just thought I'd post this to help explain why the chewing might help certain symptoms (but may hurt the joint itself).

Old 09-29-2003, 04:28 PM   #7
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StylophonePet HB User

My theory is that when you're chewing gum or anything else that flexible your muscles are provided with blood, oxygen etc. so they warm up, thus you not so succeptible to pain as when your muscles are cold

Old 09-29-2003, 09:27 PM   #8
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Amby HB User

StylophonePet - LOL, no you're not the only "weirdo".
It must have to do with the blood flow and loosening of the muscles.

RobynRose - I get horrendous headaches and facial pain/pressure now and never remember it being this bad especially when I was chewing gum.

I wish for us to find permanent relief one day.

Thank you all for the replies.

Take care

Old 10-02-2003, 09:10 AM   #9
Posts: n/a

I don't chew gum anymore and avoid "chewy" foods so I don't compound the problem. If your massaging helps, do that alternativly.

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