Relax Your Jaw: A Guide to Releasing Stress and Tension

Relax Your Jaw: A Guide to Releasing Stress and Tension

Unclench Your Jaw: Simple Techniques to Relax Your Jaw

Do you find that your jaws are often sore? Frequently clenching and grinding your teeth can cause your jaw to ache.

A tight jaw can cause pain or discomfort in the ears, nose, head, teeth, jaw, face, and neck, depending on the cause and severity, with intensity levels ranging from a dull ache to a ‘loud throbbing.’

Stiffness in the jaw muscles or joints is a common phenomenon caused by various factors, including TMJ, teeth grinding, and inflammation. It may cause discomfort and pain when chewing, eating, or speaking, but it is easily managed with a few simple jaw exercises and stretches.

We’ve put together some helpful tips for how you can relax your jaw:

Massage the Jaw

Massaging the jaw can help relieve tightness and pain. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Start by washing your hands and making sure your nails are short and clean.
  2. Apply a warm compress to the jaw for a few minutes to help relax the muscles.
  3. Use your fingers to gently massage the jaw muscles in a circular motion, starting from the chin and moving toward the ears.
  4. Use your thumbs to massage the muscles in the back of the jaw and the sides of the neck.
  5. Be gentle and avoid putting too much pressure on the jaw or neck muscles.
  6. Continue massaging for a few minutes until the muscles feel more relaxed.

It’s important to remember that if you are experiencing persistent jaw pain or discomfort, you should consult with a dentist or healthcare provider to rule out any underlying dental or medical conditions.

Kneading Massage

With your fingers, rub your jaws in small, circular motions. Then open your mouth as wide as possible without it hurting and hold it like that for 10 seconds. Relax and repeat ten more times.

Practice Relaxation Techniques

Stress and anxiety can cause teeth grinding and clenching, so finding ways to manage stress can help prevent these habits. Some relaxation techniques that may be effective include deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or progressive muscle relaxation. These techniques can help reduce muscle tension and promote relaxation, which can help reduce the likelihood of bruxism.

Visualization Exercise

Sit down in a comfortable position. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. With your mouth closed, press your tongue against your palate (the roof of your mouth) and then relax. Clench your jaw and then relax. Pull your shoulders up to your ears and then relax. Scrunch your face as if you have eaten something sour, and then relax. Lastly, lift your shoulders, hold them there for a few seconds, and then relax.

Stretch the Jaw Muscle

stretching the jaw muscles can help to loosen and relax a tight jaw. Here is a simple exercise you can do:

  1. Slowly and gently open your mouth as wide as possible without causing pain.
  2. Use your hand to gently push down on your lower jaw to help stretch the muscles.
  3. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
  4. Slowly close your mouth, and rest for 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat the exercise 5-10 times, 2-3 times daily.

It’s important not to overdo the stretching, as this can cause further strain on the jaw muscles. Stop and consult your dentist if you experience pain or discomfort during the exercise.


Open your mouth as wide as possible like you are yawning. When you inhale, tighten your shoulders and arms. When you exhale, relax completely. Repeat.

relax tight jaw

Your dentist may recommend mouth exercises to help loosen your jaw, relieve pain, and increase your range of motion. Close your lips while keeping your teeth apart, then press your tongue against the roof of your mouth for as long as you can. Another jaw-relaxing exercise is to open and close your mouth slowly while holding your jaw. These exercises lengthen the muscles used in teeth grinding.

Jaw Exercise

Try gentle exercise to restore a normal range of motion, improve flexibility, and strengthen the jaw muscles. Additional exercises can be suggested by your doctor, dentist, or physiotherapist.

  • Do not perform this exercise if your pain is severe or if it aggravates your pain.
  • Gently open and close your mouth while looking in the mirror, dropping your jaw straight up and down.
  • Repeat for a few minutes in the morning and evening.
  • As you practice this exercise daily, you should notice minor improvements in the jaw’s range of motion.

Avoid Grinding and Clenching

Here are some tips to help you avoid grinding and clenching:

  • Wear a mouthguard: If you grind or clench your teeth, wearing a mouthguard can help protect your teeth from damage and prevent jaw pain.
  • Manage stress: Since stress can contribute to grinding and clenching, finding ways to manage stress can help reduce the frequency and severity of grinding and clenching.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol: Caffeine and alcohol can contribute to grinding and clenching, so avoiding or reducing your intake of these substances may help.
  • Don’t chew on non-food items: Chewing on non-food items, such as pens or pencils, can cause you to develop a habit of clenching your jaw, so try to avoid doing this.
  • Relax your jaw: When you feel yourself tensing, consciously relax it by letting your teeth separate and your jaw muscles slack.
  • Get enough sleep: Fatigue can contribute to grinding and clenching, so getting enough sleep each night can help prevent these habits.

If you are experiencing pain or discomfort from grinding and clenching, you must talk to your dentist or healthcare provider to develop a treatment plan that works for you.

Use a Mouthguard

Using a mouthguard can help prevent grinding and clenching, also known as bruxism. A mouthguard is a dental appliance custom-fitted to your teeth and worn over your teeth while you sleep. It can help to protect your teeth and jaws from the harmful effects of bruxism, such as tooth damage, jaw pain, and headaches. There are different mouthguards, including those available over the counter and those custom-made by a dentist. Your dentist can recommend the best type of mouthguard for your needs.

Heat & Cold Therapy

Heat therapy can help relax your jaw muscles and alleviate soreness. Get a moist heating pad or warm washcloth and place it under your chin or on the sides of your face. Cold therapy is excellent for alleviating severe pain. You can apply an ice pack for 5 to 10 minutes. Apply moist heat: Apply a warm towel or heating pad to the affected area to help relax the muscles and relieve pain. Try alternating between the two therapies until you find relief.

Besides these exercises, you can do small things to relax your jaw.

  • While your lips are closed, keep your teeth apart.
  • Press your tongue against the roof of your mouth rather than between your teeth.
  • Do not hold your phone between your shoulders and jaw.

Seek professional treatment

If your jaw pain is severe or persistent, consult a healthcare professional who may recommend additional treatments such as physical therapy or medication.

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