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Are There Tongue Exercises For TMJ?

A person tries a tongue exercise for TMJ

Has your dentist or doctor suggested exercises for TMJ?

If you struggle with chronic pain in your jaw there are some easy TMJ exercises that may relieve your discomfort.

While it is important to closely follow the advice of your doctor or dentist, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders are often aided by physical therapy. Most importantly, it’s helpful to stretch and strengthen the muscles that move your jaw. With that in mind, it may surprise you to learn the benefits of tongue exercises for TMJ.

Before we look specifically at tongue exercises for TMJ, let’s examine some of the best exercises for TMJ pain, and why they work to relieve pain.

What exercises get rid of TMJ?

Unfortunately, no exercises will get rid of TMJ completely. TMJ is a complex thing, and TMJ treatment options can include

  • Waiting to see if the pain resolves
  • Mouthguards
  • Advanced dental care
  • Therapy to reduce stress
  • Physical therapy to strengthen the jaw muscles
  • Surgery

As we have said on our website, "Typically, if you follow the recommendations of your dentist in wearing mouth guards and work on stress coping skills (to decrease your teeth-gritting and clenching) TMJ pain will go away on its own. This is why it’s important to get a second opinion whenever a doctor suggests something dramatic like surgery."

It’s important to follow the advice of your own doctor and dentist.

TMJ Exercises

While you can’t necessarily cure TMJ with exercises, you can improve things by stretching and strengthening your jaw muscles. If you are experiencing TMJ pain, you may give these exercises a try.

WebMD gives some important advice: “Ease into these exercises and try them out slowly. Pay careful attention if any pain arises.” They go on to say that you should pace yourself, and start slowly.

Goldfish Exercises

Healthline suggests a jaw exercise that involves only partially opening your mouth. Here are the directions for the goldfish exercise:

  • “Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth and one finger in front of your ear where your TMJ is located.
  • Put your middle or pointer finger on your chin.
  • Drop your lower jaw halfway and then close.
  • There should be mild resistance but not pain.
  • A variation of this exercise is to place one finger on each TMJ as you drop your lower jaw halfway and close again.
  • Do this exercise six times in one set. You should do one set six times daily.”

Mandibular Stabilization Exercise

WebMD provides a great exercise for aligning the jaw bone:

  • Start with the jaw in a neutral, relaxed position.
  • Hold your thumb to the base of the jaw, just below the chin, and apply gentle pressure as you open your mouth.
  • Repeat the motion, moving your thumb to the left and right sides of the jaw respectively.

They suggest that you repeat this exercise five times and that you do it five times a day.

Jaw Joint Stretch

On our blog, we recommend the jaw joint stretch. This stretch uses your tongue to stretch the jaw forward.

  • Press your tongue against the roof of your mouth, behind your teeth.
  • Then use your tongue to push your top teeth forward and, while doing that, slowly open your mouth.
  • Stop doing this when you feel pain.

You can repeat this ten times.

Tongue exercises for TMJ

As we promised, here are some of the best exercises for TMJ that specifically target the tongue.

Tongue up

Healthline provides a very simple tongue exercise for TMJ. “With your tongue touching the roof of your mouth, slowly open and close your mouth.”

WebMD elaborates on this technique:

  • “From a seated or standing position, gently touch your tongue to the roof of your mouth.
  • Now, without letting your tongue drop, extend your jaw as far down as you can.
  • Still without moving your tongue, close your jaw and then open it again.
  • Repeat this chewing motion at least 10 times, three times a day.”

Any of these TMJ exercises can be attempted safely in most cases. If they cause increased pain, stop and contact your dentist or doctor. Remember that the point of all of these TMJ exercises is to strengthen and stretch your jaw muscles.

Sometimes stretching isn’t enough and it’s time to see a dentist. If you are in the Raleigh, NC area, there is a TMJ specialist right in your backyard! TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Raleigh-Durham offers a range of solutions to help relieve your TMJ pain.

Request an appointment and find relief today!

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TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Raleigh-Durham

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    Cary, North Carolina 27513
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