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Dr. Na Xu
Healthy Smiles Family Dental

2601 25th St., Suite 400
Salem, OR 97302

P: (503) 385-1185
F: (503) 339-1981

What is Causing Your Difficulty Chewing?

Posted on 6/13/2016 by Na Xu
A man suffering from jaw pain while chewing food.Do you have pain or stiffness in your mouth when you try to chew your food? While we all experience a little bit of discomfort during chewing from time to time, if you experience chronic chewing difficulty, there are several causes that could be involved.

By identifying the source of your discomfort, you can work to find a solution to ease your pain.

Reasons for Painful Chewing

If you are experiencing pain when you chew, it is important to explore the various causes of this problem:

•  Bone and tissue loss in the jaw
•  Dental conditions like cavities, decay, gum disease, or an abscess, as the pain can radiate to the jaw area and can cause pain in the individual teeth
•  Mucositis, which will increase inflammation, pain, and soreness in the mouth
•  Oral infections after chemotherapy or radiation therapy
•  Osteomyelitis, which is an infection that will travel through the blood stream before affecting the bones and surrounding tissues
•  Stiffness and pain in the jaw muscles, possibly due to tooth grinding, jaw clenching, or nerve damage
•  Temporomandibular disorder, which can cause jaw pain and clicking sounds when chewing or opening the mouth
•  Tooth abscesses, which are the result of the nerve in the tooth becoming infected
•  Xerostomia, which is also known as dry mouth and can be a result of taking certain medications like pain killers and antidepressants

Ultimately, only your dentist can determine the exact cause of your chewing pain, so if you experience chronic pain when you try to eat or chew gum, you should set up an appointment with your dentist.

By determining the cause of the problem, your dentist can help you to find a good solution. This may be simple lifestyle changes like avoiding chewing gum, or in the most severe cases, you may need more invasive treatment in order to prevent the problem from recurring.

Please contact us if you have any questions about your oral health.

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