By now, you probably already know that maintaining a healthy weight is critical to living a long and active life. You may have also heard that losing weight can help reduce your risk of developing illnesses such as heart disease or cancer. But, did you know that losing weight can also improve your jaw health and can help to ease the painful symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder?
Temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMJD, develops when the temporomandibular joints that connect the lower jaw to the rest of the skull become misaligned.
Misalignment can cause wear and tear on your joint, which results in popping or clicking when the jaw moves, pain in and around the jaw joint, headaches, difficulty opening and closing the mouth, pain and ringing in the ears, headaches, neck pain, and back pain.
TMJD can also cause you to grind your teeth and have an unbalanced bite.
But how does your weight contribute to TMJD? Just like any other joint in your body, the less you weigh, the less strain on your jaw joint.
We know this may sound strange, as the TMJs aren't weight-bearing joints, but researchers at the University of Michigan Weight Loss Program at Michigan Medicine have found that interleukin-10, a naturally occurring anti-inflammatory molecule that is produced when your body is healing from injury - including TMJ wear and tear - goes up when you lose weight.
The researchers believe that excess weight stops the body from producing interleukin-10, which, in turn, causes inflammation. So, by losing weight, you can reduce your inflammation levels and improve your TMJD symptoms.
If you're struggling with your TMJD symptoms, it may be worth it to talk to your doctor about your weight and how it can contribute to your jaw condition. Talk to Dr. Konig today about your TMJD symptoms and discuss your plans for weight loss. As you lose weight, be sure to note any changes in your symptoms and talk to Dr. Konig about the changes you experience along the way.
Are you experiencing the painful symptoms of TMJD? Let's talk! Call Dr. Konig today at 713-668-2289 to schedule an appointment.