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Jaw Pain, Dry Mouth and Saliva Production



When chewing causes jaw pain, our natural responses may be to;

1 select soft foods to minimise pain.

2 chew less frequently

3 change the bite to chew to see if it hurts less. If so, you develop an habit of chewing with altered bite. This puts more stress on the jaw joints.

When we prefer to eat soft foods, we chew less frequently and shorter time. This leads to weaker muscles of mastication (chewing muscles).

As a result, one’s saliva production may reduce and it subsequently causes dry mouth.

Here’s the role of saliva.

Saliva functions to wash and cleanse inside your mouth. However, in dry mouth condition, mouth odour is harder to control.

Saliva also protects one from infections due to viruses and germs (i.e. dry mouth increases the risk of flu or pneumonia particularly in the elderly).

Saliva keeps teeth and gums healthy protecting it from infections (i.e. dry mouth can lead to gum disease and infections). DRY MOUTH may be a reflection that saliva production has reduced. If you notice dry(er) mouth and have pain in the jaw joint on chewing or opening mouth, it is very important to seek help to treat your jaw pain.

At the same time, dry mouth can occur if you are a mouth breather.

You can be a mouth breather for reasons such as deviated nasal septum (passage in the nose is not straight and often narrowed) or chronic sinus issues such as infection.

Ideally your tongue should stay up behind front teeth in the hard palate.

This means you are able to breathe through your nose and therefore have your lips closed with top and bottom teeth apart.

So your mouth can remain moist and saliva can protect you from gum diseases and infections. Your tongue can be trained.

So seek some help to rehabilitate your tongue to move properly during breathing.

Happy Rehab!

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