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Some people who have tension in their jaw chew gum, because they think it relieves the tension. Well, it does and doesn’t, according to oral surgeons at UT Southwester Medical Center at Dallas.
Chewing gum may be a stress reliever of choice for some, but according to Dr. Douglass Sinn, a UT Southwestern oral surgeon,
“Constant gum chewing can tire your jaws. It can lead to muscle fatigue, muscle spasms and pain. It may even lead to a syndrome called T-M-J that causes pain in the head or neck and may make it difficult to open and close the jaw properly.”
Signs of TMJ syndrome include:
- pain in the jaw, neck and head
- a clicking sound when you open and close your mouth
The medical center suggests looking for other ways to relieve stress: “exercise, squeezing a stress ball, meditation and other relaxation techniques.” Read this previous post on acupressure and yoga-based ways to relax the jaw.
And, of course, with most things, chewing gum for a short time once in a while is likely safe. Pay attention, and your body will tell you if it’s an OK amount of activity.
You’ve read about how I’m a fan of the neti pot.
Well, I’ve just discovered and tested out an alternative, the Sinus Rinse. It’s the same concept of nasal irrigation, but where a neti pot uses gravity to pour water through your nasal cavities, this bottle with a fits-all-nostril-size top adds squeeze power. A little more oomph.
I just tried it, and it was really easy to use.
- I was afraid it would require a lot of pressure, but it didn’t at all. The bottle is easy to squeeze.
- You can use it more or less standing straight up, rather than having to tilt your head, as you do with the neti, which can be more comfortable. I found it so.
- If I hadn’t had the experience with the neti pot, however, I think this would have been more uncomfortable. That “drowning” feeling.
- My partner, who has large nostrils, loved how comfortably the cap fit his nose, compared to the neti pot.
- Using the tablets with the right amount of salt and baking soda was convenient, though expensive in the long run.
- Great for people who benefit from daily nasal irrigation: those with chronic congestion or sinus issues.
- I can see that this would be a lot easier to take on the road; to use in a public restroom or even a plane toilet.
- I think I prefer the gentleness of the neti pot. But I don’t have chronic congestion or sinus issues, so don’t need to use as frequently. That said, more regular usage would probably benefit me…
Great to know about another alternative to a natural tool for everyday health.