Sometimes bigger isn’t always better, as is the case with oversized subs and burgers found in restaurants today. While it can be tempting for some to try to open their mouths wide enough to get the entire height of the burger in their mouth, opening the mouth too wide can damage oral health. Next time you’re faced with a sub, sandwich or burger that towers above your plate, you may want to consider taking smaller bites to protect the health of your jaw, teeth, and gums.
Oversize bites and TMJ disorder
Opening your mouth wider than what’s natural or comfortable can damage jaw joints and be a bigger problem for those with TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder). The temporomandibular joint connects the jaw to the skull bones and works like a hinge, enabling free movement during chewing. Anyone with TMJ disorder can make their condition worse by taking huge bites of food as it can result in pain, clicking sounds in the jaw, swelling and difficulty eating. To avoid the risk of TMJ disorder and prevent making it worse, it’s a good idea to take smaller bites.
Waiting too long to eat can make you so hungry that you shove the food in your mouth as quickly as possible and end up with too much. Chewing too much food can cause jaw injury and stress your teeth and gums, which can result in dental issues. When you take large bites and then don’t chew your food thoroughly, you can swallow too much at one time and create digestive problems that may lead to weight gain. To avoid stuffing your mouth too full from hunger, choose small, healthy snacks throughout the day so you can enjoy the bigger meals and take your time chewing. By cutting food into smaller bites and taking the time to chew it properly, you satisfy your hunger more easily and can eat less.
Biting the wrong foods
Not only is taking big bites of too much food a problem but also biting down on the wrong foods can cause dental issues. Chewing on hard foods such as candy, popcorn, ice, and nuts can cause chips or cracks in tooth surfaces that may require dental crowns for repair or even extraction. Putting stress on your teeth by constantly chewing hard foods can lead to involved and expensive dental repairs, and you should never use your teeth to open packages or bottles or to chew on pens or pencils.
Although your teeth and jaws are strong, they’re not invincible and deserve special care to avoid painful and potentially permanent damage. If you’re experiencing any discomfort during biting or chewing, contact Greater Baltimore Prosthodontics for a thorough dental exam that can help improve your oral health and smile.