Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction and Your Health

October 12, 2020
Avatar for Kelley MingusKelley Mingus

We often hear that our oral health affects our overall health- but what does that mean, exactly? How could brushing our teeth affect the heart, blood, and stomach? Bacteria from our gums can be the cause of many troubles in our bodies, from Alzheimer’s disease to stroke and diabetes. But that’s just bacteria. There are many other ways our body can be affected by what goes on in our mouth. For example, patients may experience symptoms throughout their entire body as a result of a condition known as temporomandibular joint dysfunction, where the jaw’s temporomandibular joint becomes improperly aligned with the jaw. Here’s how temporomandibular joint dysfunction (or TMJ for short) can affect your whole body.

Headaches

Do you experience persistent headaches that you can’t explain? Whether you get migraine headaches or headaches with pain that seems to radiate throughout your head, shoulders, and neck, this could be a side effect of temporomandibular joint dysfunction. These headaches can take their toll on your daily life, causing poor posture, back pain and more. Worse yet, these headaches may not go away with pain medication, and may become more severe with time.

Tinnitus

Tinnitus is persistent ringing in the ears, which while may not be very loud can be very annoying. Tinnitus can be caused by many things, including temporomandibular joint dysfunction. Tinnitus most likely occurs in TMJ dysfunction patients because of the temporomandibular joints proximity to the ears. There is no ‘cure’ or for tinnitus, either, so stopping this nuisance symptom can be difficult.

Chipped or Cracked Teeth

Do your teeth have uneven wear, or unexplained chips, or cracks? This could be a sign of bruxism, or teeth grinding. Teeth grinding can also be caused by many things, including stress and temporomandibular joint dysfunction. This is because when we have temporomandibular joint dysfunction, we tend to clench our jaw, including clenching our teeth together, causing damage over time.

If you experience any of these symptoms, you could be suffering from temporomandibular joint dysfunction. Speak to Dr. Mingus about being evaluated for this condition. We can formulate a plan that will help relieve the pain and damage temporomandibular joint dysfunction may be causing you. Dr. Mingus can customize a solution to your pain and get you back to feeling like yourself again.