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  /  Locked jaw   /  Short Upper Lip, Dry Mouth and Grinding – TMJ Disorder Exercise and Management to Improve Lip Seal

Short Upper Lip, Dry Mouth and Grinding – TMJ Disorder Exercise and Management to Improve Lip Seal


If you suffer from Grinding and TMJ pain and disorder such as tight cheeks and painful jaw, you may have dry mouth (xerostomia).

There is a link between TMJ disorder and dry mouth.

There are many reasons why dry mouth can occur but if it is to do with shorter upper lip, your upper front teeth may be showing a lot and you may find difficult to keep lips over your front teeth long enough.

At rest, we are meant to have TONGUE on the roof of mouth (just immediately behind top front teeth where it is rough – alveolar ridges) and lips together and upper and lower teeth slightly apart. In order to keep the toughest on the roof of mouth, we need negative suction pressure in the mouth.

Keeping lips together enables this negative pressure in your mouth. But if your upper lip is shorter due to muscle tightness or other soft tissue tightness, your upper lip may not be able to cover 75% of upper teeth. If this is the case you may find it difficult to keep lips together. This means your mouth is always open and because it is difficult to maintain negative pressure within mouth, TONGUE will not stay up on the roof of mouth. Then, you become MOUTH BREATHER, causing dry mouth.

Dry mouth can cause grinding at night and it puts Jaw under excessive pressure and leads to TMJ pain and disorder such as tight cheeks, painful jaw etc and complete the whole loop of vicious cycle.

As seen in this video, YOU can do something about it! By stretching the upper lip manually, it can gradually win your way to lengthening upper lip so at least 75% of front upper teeth are covered.

Thumb Pull Stretch 1 Make sure your THUMBS and INDEX fingers are clean. 2 Place both THUMBS in and behind upper lip and INDEX fingers oppose THUMBS from outside 3 Gently pull upper lip down and hold for 10 seconds 4 Repeat 5-6 repetitions, 3 times per day * You can make the stretch more by wrinkling your nose while holding with fingers.

Then, In order to keep the gains from stretching program, use cotton buds rolled thin to the length of the front teeth, wet the rolled cotton bud and place it where you had your thumbs during stretch to maintain the effect of stretch. Try to wear this unto 4 hours per day to maintain the effect until you feel there is enough coverage of front upper teeth (75% of teeth). If any pain or adverse reactions occur, cease stretching and cotton bud insertion and seek professional assistance from your local TMJ specialist.

Happy Rehab!

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