Do women experience temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD, more frequently than men? A March 2019 study says yes. And more often than not, the development of TMD occurs during childbearing years. Legends Dental can help treat both women and men for TMD at any stage of life.

What Is TMD?

TMD is a painful medical condition that develops when the temporomandibular joint becomes misaligned. The effects of the condition include jaw pain; clicking, popping and snapping of the jaw; tooth grinding and clenching; headaches; and pain in the neck, back and shoulders. Some people also experience difficulty opening and closing the mouth.

The study, which analyzed 999 people with TMD and 2,031 persons without TMD, assessed participants for causes of the condition and to see if a gender component exists.

The researchers found that there is a gender variable that contributes to the development of the disorder. Ninety percent of individuals living with TMD were found to be women in their childbearing years.

But why?

Stress and Other Factors

One thought is stress. The stress of raising children can contribute to the disorder. Women tend to internalize stress, which often subconsciously manifests itself as clenching and grinding. This puts stress and wear and tear on the temporomandibular joints.

Other possible causes include hormonal changes in women brought on by having children and menopause. During these years, estrogen and progesterone levels are higher and can cause jaw ligament laxity, which can lead to joint problems and irritation. When this happens, the jaw joint becomes inflamed and painful.

Another potential factor is the anatomical differences between men and women in the jaw and skull. These differences can affect the force on the temporomandibular joints and contribute to the development of TMD. In men, the upper jaw bones are longer and broader than in women, which makes for a greater angle of the lower jaw and less stress on the jaw joint.

Other contributors to the development of TMD include narrow airway and poor breathing habits, such as mouth breathing.

If you're living with TMD and its uncomfortable symptoms, Legends Dental can help. Give us a call today at (254) 799-9540 for more information about a diagnosis, causes and treatment. We look forward to speaking to you.