Morning comes everyday exactly the same; the sun is shining, birds are singing in the trees, you give a big yawn -- and feel that crack as your jaw protests after another long night. Jaw pain is  a relatively common source of chronic pain -- between 5 and 12 percent of the population are affected by TMJD (the most common form of jaw pain) -- but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try to figure out why it's occurring. If you're looking to stop your jaw pain, then here are a few habits you might just want to break.

Clenching and Grinding

Sure, this cause sounds like a new dance move you'd bust out at the club, but it's actually a little more harmful to your teeth than running wild on a Friday night. Clenching and grinding your teeth at night might seem like a harmless habit, but it can actually build up tension in your jaw muscles and even wear down the joints around those muscles. 

Ask your family dentist or orthodontist for a mouthguard to wear at night -- this little plastic device will allow you to sleep peacefully, knowing that your jaw joints are safe and sound.

Excessive Gum Chewing

Chewing the occasional strip of gum can be a great way to help freshen your breath and help you push past the 2 o'clock hunger pains at work. But if you rely too much on this minty-fresh delight, you might actually be causing your jaw major problems. The muscles in your jaw are incredibly strong, and meant to help you break down even the most stubborn foods. Working these muscles constantly throughout the day can result in strained jaw muscles -- and the accompanying jaw pain.

This habit is fortunately an easy fix. You can keep chewing the odd stick of gum every now and again, but breath mints will do largely the same job at no cost to your poor, exhausted jaw.

Leaning On Your Jaw

Most people do it when they're bored -- you put your hand under your chin, lean your elbow on the desk, and slowly zone out. The problem with this habit is that too often, you'll shift your bite slightly out of alignment -- which can cause some definite jaw pain if you hold this pose for too long or resort to it too often.

In order to train yourself out of this habit, try sitting with your shoulders rolled back and your chin parallel to the floor. Not only will this posture improve how you carry yourself, but it will keep your hands from going near your jaw. 

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