365 Ways #203–Blame the bottle not the boob

#203--the thinnest bone in the body is in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Breast feeding exercises this joint in the infant and makes it stronger, more stable, and more durable. Bottle feeding doesn’t accomplish this goal as the rotational movement of the jaw which occurs when breast feeding is unnecessary. Thus, the typical bottle fed kid has significant TMJ degeneration by the age of 35.

Is your jaw clicking? That's a sign of TMJ dysfunction. And at this point, your breast feeding days are behind you, at least from a socially acceptable standpoint. So you need to slow down or eliminate future degeneration. One way to do this is through re-education of the muscles which control the opening and closing of the jaw. It's tedious but effective. And it's simple enough that you can perform it from home once you've been taught how to do it--and that's a good thing since you'd probably get a lot of weird looks doing these mouth exercises at the gym.

A bite guard is another way to halt the degeneration. The lymbic system (emotional system) dumps excessive energy into the masseter and the temporalis--the muscles responsible for closing the mouth. So at night when the body goes into psychogenic repair, these muscles cause you to grind your teeth. The bite guard keeps you from losing vertical dimension as the teeth wear away, allowing laxity in the TMJ which allows the disc there to slip medially which ultimately leads to bone on bone contact.

Of course, minimizing stress in your life so you don't grind your teeth away is a good course of action, too. But sleeping at the right times, drinking enough water, and eating quality food is much more difficult than sticking a piece of plastic in your mouth and looking like a boxer when you go to sleep. So I'll stick to the battles I know I can win....

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