There are fascinating and surprising connections between various elements of our bodies. For example, the connection between airway health and Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorders, a group of conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and the muscles controlling jaw movement, is complex. Their relationship often goes unnoticed, even though it impacts our overall well-being. Continue reading to learn more about the link between airway health and TMJ disorders.
Understanding Airway Health
Airway health refers to the condition and functioning of the passageway by which air enters and exits the lungs. It involves the nose, throat, and bronchial tubes. Issues with the airway can lead to significant health problems, including sleep apnea, allergies, and asthma.
The Link Between TMJ Disorders and Airway Health
The connection between TMJ disorders and airway health isn’t always immediately apparent. However, examining the nuances of these conditions makes it clear that they are interconnected.
Airway Obstruction and TMJ
Several studies indicate airway obstruction can lead to changes in the jaw's position, potentially causing TMJ disorders. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine in 2019 found a high prevalence of sleep-disordered breathing symptoms among patients with TMJ. When the airway is blocked, the body instinctively moves the jaw forward to open up the airway. Over time, this can lead to an abnormal bite and cause TMJ disorders.
TMJ Disorders and Sleep Apnea
TMJ disorders and sleep apnea often co-occur. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research points out that a person with a TMJ disorder is more likely to have sleep apnea. One explanation for the connection is that the inflammation and pain associated with TMJ disorders can lead to difficulty maintaining a clear airway while sleeping.
Mouth Breathing and TMJ Disorders
Mouth breathing, often due to airway obstruction, can also contribute to TMJ disorders. When people breathe through their mouth, they usually have to overextend their jaw, which can strain the TMJ and lead to disorders.
Managing Airway Health To Improve TMJ Disorders
Recognizing the link between airway health and TMJ disorders can pave the way for more effective treatments. Breathing exercises, dental treatments, and physiotherapy can all improve airway health and treat TMJ.
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