Why your jaw pops when you eat

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The jaw joints and groups of muscles that let us chew, swallow, speak and yawn are known as the temporomandibular. When there's a problem with how the joints and muscles work, you may have a temporomandibular disorder.



  • Your jaw may be painful when you wake up, clench your teeth, chew your food or yawn.
  • It may be hard to open or close your jaws all the way, or your jaws may lock open or closed.
  • Severe headaches.
  • You may hear strange noises in your jaw joints, such as clicking or popping when you open your mouth, or crunching and grinding sounds when you chew.

Cause and Effect:

  • The cause of temporomandibular is not always clear, but in most cases stress is a major factor. Here are some of the things that might cause it:
  • Clenching your jaw muscles can cause them to ache. Some people grind their teeth or clench their jaw muscles when they are under stress.
  • Broken, or fractured, jaws or a jaw joint that has been knocked out of place or dislocated
  • Some diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, may affect the jaw joints and muscles.

What you can do:

  • Be aware of when you are clenching your teeth and try to relax your jaw muscles.
  • Stay away from hard or sticky foods. Do not chew gum. Eat a soft diet and cut food into small pieces. Try not to open your mouth too wide, even when you yawn.
  • Rub or massage and stretch your jaw muscles.
  • Put a cold or warm compress on your sore jaw muscles to help ease tense muscles. For a cold compress, use ice cubes wrapped in a towel, for a warm compress, use a hot water bottle or a hot, damp cloth.

It can sometimes be annoying when you eat and your jaw pops or it can be painful, just remember the saying, "Lips together ... teeth apart." when you are relaxed, this will ease the tense muscles. If the pain gets to intense, go and see your dentist.