‘Why Does My Jaw Hurt When I Chew?’ — 6 Reasons Why It Happens

December 30, 2022

Have you ever experienced your jaw freezing up mid-chewing? Just when you’re about to take a delicious bite out of your favorite food, your jaw locks up, causing a sharp stab of pain to shoot up your mouth. But why does this happen? Is it normal?

If you keep asking yourself, ‘Why does my jaw hurt?’ or ‘Is it okay if my jaw hurts when I chew?’ Look no further! We’ve answered all your burning questions right here in this blog.

Is It Normal If My Jaw Hurts When I Chew?

If you’ve been chewing for a long time or are a slow eater, it’s common to feel its effects in your jaw. However, if your jaw randomly starts to hurt while chewing, it’s not normal.

People who like to chew gum experience this pain frequently. It’s a basic response by your jaw muscles when they get tired, causing them to wear out and hurt. Nevertheless, feeling jaw pain on one side or by your ear every time you eat is something to be concerned about.

You can try basic jaw exercises to alleviate the pain or consult a dentist for further insight on the matter.

Why Is My Jaw So Tense?

A tense jaw can make moving your mouth extremely difficult. Be it during chewing, brushing your mouth, or simply talking, there’s not much you can do with a lockjaw. So what exactly is it that causes this to happen? Why does your jaw feel so tense when you’re eating?

The answer to these questions is a bit difficult to pinpoint since there are many reasons why your jaw hurts. Nevertheless, mentioned below are the most common causes behind your jaw feeling tight and heavy at times.

  • Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder
  • Stress or Anxiety
  • Bruxism, or the habit of grinding and clenching your teeth
  • Arthritis
  • Facial Trauma
  • Malocclusion

How to Fix a Sore Jaw From Chewing?

Tight jaw muscles aren’t all that uncommon. It’s okay to experience it every now and then. But if your jaw hurts every time you chew on one side or the other, it could be a serious issue.

To unlock your jaw and relieve the excruciating pain, you can try the following tips. They might help reduce overall jaw pain:

  1. Try Jaw Exercises Like Chin Tucks, Occipital Lifts, etc.
  2. Correct Your Body’s Posture
  3. Maintain a Healthy Sleeping Schedule
  4. Alternate Between a Hot and Cold Compress
  5. Try Meditation to Reduce Stress
  6. Avoid Chewing Gum or Moving Your Mouth Too Much
  7. Eat a Balanced Diet With Minimal Hard or Crunchy Foods
  8. Place a Hand Under Your Jaw When Yawning
  9. Take Small Bites and Chew Slowly With a Closed Mouth

Suffering From Chronic Jaw Pain?

It’s not uncommon for people to deal with a locked or frozen jaw. However, if you continue to experience jaw pain, and it especially hurts when you chew, it is probably best to visit an Orthodontist. You will be checked for a misaligned jaw or malocclusion.

For more information, feel free to reach out to Smile Unique Dental & Orthodontics at (832) 391-8660. Call today to schedule a hassle-free appointment. If you want to drop by our dental office first, you can find us at 19355 Katy Fwy Suite 600 Houston TX 77094, located right next to MKT Pizza.


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