Five Home Remedies to Soothe Jaw Pain

In addition to using these remedies, if you want to soothe jaw pain, it's important to control your stress and to avoid harmful habits, like chewing gum.
Five Home Remedies to Soothe Jaw Pain
Maricela Jiménez López

Reviewed and approved by the doctor Maricela Jiménez López.

Last update: 10 November, 2022

Jaw pain is more common than you might think. Normally, it starts out of nowhere and causes a great deal of discomfort. However, as time goes on, the pain can become extremely sharp and intense.

Its symptoms vary depending on the cause. The condition should definitely be treated, as it can spread to the rest of the face. However, there’s no need to worry, as there are some home remedies that can soothe jaw pain.

Multiple causes can generate this discomfort, and each one has different consequences. Whatever the case, you should visit your doctor. Then, you’ll be able to obtain more information and learn how to deal with the problem.

The causes of jaw pain

As a rule, jaw pain is the result of something being misaligned. One reason this could happen is that your teeth don’t fit together correctly. Another cause might be bruxism (commonly known as teeth grinding). It could also be the result of a neck injury or a blow to the jaw.

Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding is one of the main causes of jaw pain. It’s also known as bruxism and consists of grinding the teeth, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. Some people do it when they’re sleeping. Others do it when they’re stressed, according to a study conducted by the Universidad de Los Andes (Chile).

The pressure exerted when grinding the teeth is usually five times stronger than that made when chewing. This problem causes wear on the tooth enamel and pain in the jaw. When done repeatedly, it can also cause joint dislocations and headaches.

Osteomyelitis

Osteomyelitis is an infection that affects the bones or any tissue, according to a study conducted by the University of Medical Sciences (Costa Rica). Some people often have osteomyelitis in the temporomandibular joint. This often leads to facial swelling, high fever, and jaw pain.

Dental Abscess

A dental abscess causes pus to collect in any area of the tooth or gum. As a rule, it’s generated when there are cavities that haven’t been treated or any other type of dental problem.

  • There are two types. The periapical occurs at the root, while the periodontal occurs in the gums, as confirmed by research conducted by the University of Port Harcourt (Nigeria).
  • When the bacteria reach the root of the tooth, they also affect the tissues near the bone. This causes annoying jaw pain.
  • Eventually, the lymph nodes can become swollen and cause fever and an unpleasant taste and smell in the mouth.

Like this article? You also might like to read: Dental Abscesses and How to Treat Them

Treatments to soothe jaw pain

There are several treatments for relieving jaw pain. The first thing you should do is identify what’s causing the discomfort and see a doctor if necessary. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to tackle the pain. You’ll probably have to modify certain things, such as your diet or certain habits.

In the case of osteomyelitis, medical attention is always required. The most effective in this case are antibiotics. However, if the problem is really advanced, it may be necessary to resort to surgery to remove different areas of the bone that have died off due to the infection.

On the other hand, depending on the case, some of the following treatments for jaw pain may be recommended:

  • Orthodontics. In cases of bruxism due to malocclusion, the most recommended treatment is orthodontics.
  • Botox: For more severe cases, botox treatments can help, as they relax the facial muscles.
  • In addition to splints and orthodontics, physiotherapy can be carried out in a complementary way to reeducate the bite and relieve pain.
  • If there are abscesses, the dentist should treat them as soon as possible, draining the wound and applying antibiotics.

Home remedies to soothe jaw pain

As we mentioned earlier, jaw pain can have different causes and levels of intensity. If left untreated, it can limit the movement of the joint and make it difficult to speak or eat. These home remedies will help soothe jaw pain.

1. Ice packs

According to a study conducted by the University of the Americas (Chile), ice packs relieve pain and deflate the nerves, making them very effective in soothing jaw pain.

However, never apply ice directly to the skin, as it can be painful. Instead, use it in the following way:

  • Put ice in a plastic bag.
  • Wrap the bag with a cloth.
  • Apply the compress to the area for ten minutes.
  • Wait ten minutes before reapplying.

2. Moist heat

Moist heat relaxes overactive muscles. In addition, it improves blood circulation in the affected area, which helps to reduce pain, improve the healing process, and promote flexibility in the area, according to a study conducted by the Universidade Federal do Piauí (Brazil). 

  • Make sure to check the water temperature with your hands before putting it on your face.
  • Wet a cloth with warm water.
  • Wring it out to eliminate the excess water.
  • Apply the cloth to the area for ten minutes.
  • Repeat this process every two hours until your jaw pain goes away.

3. Improve your diet

When you suffer from jaw pain, you have to give up certain foods. You should avoid food that’s too crunchy or hard. For example, nuts, raw vegetables, stale bread, or crackers. Instead, choose soups, cooked vegetables, soft cheeses, and liquid foods.

In addition, avoid drinking caffeine and chewing gum. This tightens the muscles in your jaw and temporomandibular joints, which intensifies and prolongs jaw pain. Also, try to include foods rich in calcium and magnesium and vitamins A and C in your diet.

4. Massage the area

Massages help optimize blood flow in the area and improve tension. For this reason, they’re an excellent option for relieving jaw pain, regardless of the cause. Remember to massage really gently, so as not to hurt your jaw.

  • Apply olive oil, coconut oil, or cream to the jawline.
  • Using your index and middle fingers, massage the area in circular motions for five minutes.
  • Open your mouth four or five times.
  • Repeat the process two or three times a day.

You might like to read this article, too: 6 Body Parts You Should Massage

5. Control stress

Stress isn’t good for your jaw, or for your health in general. In particular, it can affect nail biting or teeth grinding. In these cases, it’s advisable to incorporate relaxation habits into your routines, such as yoga or meditation.

It’s also important that you get enough rest and maintain proper cervical posture. You should try to do 20 or 30 minutes of aerobic exercise twice a week. In fact, exercise reduces stress and decreases anxiety, according to a study conducted by the University of Guayaquil (Ecuador).

Other general recommendations

  • Carry out relaxed activities and don’t do any work just before going to sleep.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Keep well hydrated.
  • Put on any splints or devices that have been recommended to you.
  • Carry out relaxation exercises for the neck and face.
  • Apply acupressure.

Avoiding jaw pain

Yawning widely, chewing gum or really hard foods, and sitting incorrectly will exacerbate the problem. So avoid these habits if you want to soothe jaw pain.

If possible, deal with your jaw pain naturally. However, you should still see a specialist as soon as possible because if the pain is really intense, the condition may be getting worse. Remember, it’s important to keep an eye on the problem and take care of it in the right way.

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Bruxism: A Psychosomatic Disorder
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Bruxism: A Psychosomatic Disorder

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