If you have temporomandibular (TMJ) disorder (TMD), you are well aware of how the condition can affect everyday life. Proper dental hygiene, in particular brushing and flossing, can be challenging due to jaw pain. If you have TMD and have trouble maintaining oral hygiene, Dr. Ivan Stein of the Headache & TMJ Center of New Jersey would like to help. With a little extra care, you can keep your mouth healthy and your jaw happy at the same time.
Try a Small Toothbrush
Sometimes swapping your toothbrush for one with a small head can help alleviate jaw pain. Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles instead of medium or hard bristles, which can actually hurt the teeth. Or, consider purchasing an electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes don’t necessarily clean teeth better than regular toothbrushes but they can help people with limited jaw movement brush hard-to-reach teeth.
If the act of brushing your teeth is taxing on your mouth and jaw muscles, take breaks. Concentrate on brushing only a few teeth for a few seconds at a time before removing the brush from your mouth and relaxing your jaw. When brushing, focus on breathing in and out slowly, while keeping your jaw as relaxed as possible.
Flossing is an important part of a good hygiene. Unfortunately, TMD can make the simple act of opening your mouth uncomfortable and difficult. If you are not able to open your mouth wide enough to floss, consider using an alternative. Rubber stimulators and floss holders can make flossing the back teeth easier. Consult your dentist for recommendations on flossing alternatives.
Mouth wash can help eliminate any bacteria that was not removed via brushing, as well as help prevent plaque and gum disease. Keep in mind that while mouth wash should be included in your basic oral hygiene regimen, it should never be used as a substitute for brushing and flossing. Ask your dentist for a recommendation on which mouth wash is best.
Schedule a Consultation
If you are experiencing an unbearable amount of pain due to TMD, reach out to TMJ specialist Dr. Ivan Stein. Following a thorough evaluation, the doctor can recommend additional dental hygiene tips as well as a treatment plan for your TMD symptoms. To schedule a consultation, please call the Headache & TMJ Center of New Jersey at (855) MTJ-DOCS or (855) 865-3627 today.