Teeth Care

Why Does Jaw Pain Worsen in Cold Weather?

why does my jaw pain feel worse during the winter?

As the crisp air of winter settles in, many of us find ourselves grappling with an unexpected discomfort—worsening jaw pain. This phenomenon has left numerous people wondering about the connection between cold weather and worsening jaw pain.

In this article, we delve into the enigma of why jaw pain seems to escalate during the colder months. Understanding the underlying causes holds the key to effective management and relief.

From muscle tension to stress and seasonal changes, this article aims to unravel the mysteries surrounding this seasonal discomfort, providing insights that empower individuals to navigate and alleviate the challenges of jaw pain in cold weather.

Understanding Jaw Pain

Exploring the Causes of Jaw Pain

To comprehend the complexities of jaw pain exacerbated by colder temperatures, it is imperative to first gain a comprehensive understanding of this discomfort. Jaw pain is a multifaceted issue with various potential causes, often rooted in conditions such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, arthritis, and dental concerns.

The temporomandibular joint, responsible for facilitating jaw movement, can be susceptible to dysfunction, leading to discomfort and pain. Arthritis, a condition that affects the joints, may also contribute to jaw pain, particularly when exposed to the challenges of cold weather.

Dental issues, ranging from sensitivity to structural problems, can further complicate the landscape of jaw-related discomfort.

defend your teeth against the daily grind graphic

Factors Influencing Jaw Pain in Cold Weather

The Interplay of Muscle Tension, Stress, and Atmospheric Factors

In the quest to decipher why jaw pain intensifies during colder months, several interconnected factors come into play. One notable contributor is heightened muscle tension induced by exposure to cold weather.

As temperatures drop, muscles, including those in the jaw, can involuntarily contract, exacerbating discomfort. Stress, a common companion during the winter season, also plays a significant role. The correlation between stress levels and jaw clenching or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) symptoms is well-documented, shedding light on the impact of emotional well-being on physical health.

Additionally, cold temperatures can influence arthritis symptoms, affecting joint mobility and contributing to increased jaw pain. Dental sensitivity, a prevalent concern, may be heightened in colder weather, leading to heightened clenching or grinding of the teeth.

Lastly, changes in barometric pressure during the winter months can further exacerbate jaw pain for those sensitive to atmospheric variations. Understanding these nuanced connections is vital for individuals seeking relief and proactive management strategies for their winter-induced jaw discomfort.

How does cold weather affect jaw pain?

Cold weather can influence jaw pain through various mechanisms, exacerbating existing conditions or triggering discomfort. Here are several ways in which cold weather may affect jaw pain:

  1. Muscle Tension: Exposure to cold temperatures can lead to increased muscle tension throughout the body, including the muscles in the jaw. This heightened tension can contribute to jaw pain, especially for individuals who are prone to conditions such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.
  2. Vasoconstriction: Cold weather can cause blood vessels to constrict (vasoconstriction), reducing blood flow to various areas of the body, including the jaw. Insufficient blood supply may contribute to increased sensitivity and discomfort in the jaw region.
  3. Arthritis Aggravation: For individuals with arthritis, cold weather may exacerbate joint pain. This is relevant to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), and increased discomfort in the jaw may occur as a result of arthritis being more pronounced in colder temperatures.
  4. Increased Stress: Seasonal changes, such as those associated with colder months, can sometimes lead to heightened stress levels. Stress is a known trigger for jaw clenching and grinding, contributing to jaw pain.
  5. Barometric Pressure Changes: Some people are sensitive to changes in barometric pressure, which can occur with weather changes. These fluctuations may affect joint and muscle tissues, potentially leading to increased jaw pain in individuals sensitive to atmospheric variations.

What can I do to prevent teeth grinding during colder months?

Preventing teeth grinding, or bruxism, during colder months involves adopting strategies to reduce stress, promote relaxation, and protect your teeth. Here are some tips that may help prevent teeth grinding, especially in colder weather:

  1. Manage Stress:
    • Practice stress-reduction techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.
    • Identify and address sources of stress in your life, especially during colder months when stress levels may increase.
  2. Warm Compresses:
    • Use warm compresses on the jaw muscles before bedtime to help relax the muscles and alleviate tension.
  3. Maintain a Consistent Sleep Schedule:
    • Ensure you get an adequate amount of sleep each night.
    • Stick to a regular sleep schedule, even during colder months, to promote healthy sleep patterns.
  4. Avoid Stimulants:
    • Reduce or avoid the consumption of stimulants like caffeine and nicotine, especially in the evening.
  5. Limit Alcohol Intake:
    • Alcohol can contribute to teeth grinding, so try to limit your alcohol intake, especially close to bedtime.
  6. Protective Mouthguards:
    • Consider using a dental mouthguard or splint, especially at night, to protect your teeth from the effects of grinding.
  7. Stay Hydrated:
    • Dehydration can contribute to muscle tension, so make sure to stay adequately hydrated, even in colder weather.
  8. Chew Gum Mindfully:
    • If you have a habit of chewing gum, do so mindfully, and avoid excessive force on the jaw.
  9. Relaxation Techniques:
  10. Regular Dental Check-ups:
    • Schedule regular dental check-ups to monitor for signs of teeth grinding and discuss prevention strategies with your dentist.

Can wearing a custom mouth guard help relieve jaw pain during colder months?

Yes, wearing a custom-made mouth guard can help relieve jaw pain, including during colder months. Mouth guards, also known as splints or bite plates, are dental appliances designed to protect the teeth and jaws. Here’s how they work to provide relief for jaw pain:

  1. Preventing Teeth Grinding: Mouth guards create a barrier between the upper and lower teeth, preventing direct contact and minimizing the impact of teeth grinding or clenching. Cold weather, stress, or other factors that contribute to bruxism can lead to jaw pain, and a mouth guard can help alleviate this by reducing the pressure on the jaw joints.
  2. Muscle Relaxation: Some mouth guards are designed to promote muscle relaxation by providing a cushioning effect. This can be beneficial in reducing muscle tension in the jaw, especially if cold weather exacerbates tension-related jaw pain.
  3. Stabilizing the Jaw: Mouth guards can help stabilize the jaw and encourage proper alignment. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders or jaw misalignment, which may be sensitive to weather changes.
  4. Protecting Against Bruxism-Related Issues: In addition to preventing jaw pain, mouth guards also protect against other issues associated with bruxism, such as tooth wear, fractures, and damage to dental restorations.

If teeth grinding persists or worsens despite these preventive measures, it’s crucial to consult with a dentist or healthcare professional. They can assess your specific situation, identify any underlying causes, and recommend appropriate interventions or treatments tailored to your needs.

Coping Strategies and Relief

Proactive Approaches to Alleviate Jaw Pain in Colder Months

Navigating jaw pain during colder months necessitates proactive strategies for relief and effective management. Implementing lifestyle changes stands as a foundational step, emphasizing stress management techniques and maintaining a consistent routine.

Prioritizing dental care becomes paramount, with a focus on managing sensitivity through specialized toothpaste and regular check-ups. Incorporating warm compresses and practicing muscle relaxation techniques can prove instrumental in alleviating tension in the jaw muscles.

Seeking professional help from a dentist or healthcare provider is advised for a comprehensive assessment and personalized treatment plan, which may include dental appliances or therapeutic interventions.

Are there specific exercises to relieve jaw pain in winter?

Yes, there are specific exercises and techniques that may help relieve jaw pain, including during the winter months. It’s important to note that these exercises should be done gently, and individuals experiencing severe or persistent jaw pain should consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice. Here are some exercises that may help alleviate jaw pain:

  1. Jaw Relaxation Exercises:
    • Gently open and close your mouth several times to promote relaxation.
    • Slowly move your jaw from side to side to improve flexibility.
    • Perform gentle circular motions with your jaw to release tension.
  2. Warm Compress:
    • Apply a warm compress to the jaw area for 15-20 minutes.
    • This can help relax the muscles and alleviate discomfort, especially during colder weather.
  3. Stretching Exercises:
    • Open your mouth wide and hold for a few seconds, then close it slowly.
    • Tilt your head back slightly and open and close your mouth to stretch the jaw muscles.
  4. Massage Techniques:
    • Gently massage the jaw joint and surrounding muscles with your fingertips.
    • Use a circular motion to massage the temples and the sides of the face.
  5. Posture Improvement:
    • Maintain good posture to reduce strain on the jaw. Avoid slouching, especially during activities like reading or working on a computer.
  6. Relaxation Techniques:
    • Practice relaxation methods, such as deep breathing or meditation, to reduce overall stress levels that may contribute to jaw pain.

Is there a connection between weather changes and TMJ symptoms?

Yes, there can be a connection between weather changes and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) symptoms for some individuals. The temporomandibular joint is the joint that connects the jawbone to the skull, and TMJ disorders can cause pain and discomfort in this area. Here are ways in which weather changes may impact TMJ symptoms:

  1. Barometric Pressure Changes: Some people are sensitive to changes in barometric pressure, which can occur with weather changes. Fluctuations in atmospheric pressure may affect the joints, including the temporomandibular joint, potentially leading to increased pain or discomfort.
  2. Muscle Tension: Cold weather can lead to increased muscle tension throughout the body, including the muscles around the jaw. Elevated muscle tension is a common contributor to TMJ symptoms.
  3. Arthritis Aggravation: For individuals with arthritis, weather changes, particularly cold temperatures, may exacerbate symptoms. This is relevant to TMJ disorders, as arthritis can affect the temporomandibular joint.

Are there recommended home remedies for managing jaw pain in winter?

Certainly! Here are some recommended home remedies that may help manage jaw pain, especially during the winter months:

  1. Warm Compresses:
    • Apply a warm compress to the jaw area for 15-20 minutes.
    • This can help relax the muscles, alleviate tension, and provide relief from jaw pain.
  2. Jaw Exercises:
    • Perform gentle jaw exercises, such as opening and closing your mouth, and side-to-side movements to improve flexibility and reduce stiffness.
  3. Massage Techniques:
    • Gently massage the jaw joint and surrounding muscles with your fingertips using circular motions.
    • Massaging the temples and the sides of the face can also promote relaxation.
  4. Hydration:
    • Stay well-hydrated to prevent dehydration, which can contribute to muscle tension and exacerbate jaw pain.
  5. Over-the-Counter Pain Relief:
    • Non-prescription pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. Follow dosage recommendations.
  6. Dietary Changes:
    • Avoid hard or chewy foods that may strain the jaw.
    • Opt for a soft diet, including soups, yogurt, and mashed vegetables, to reduce the workload on the jaw.
  7. Stress Reduction Techniques:
    • Practice stress management techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga, to reduce overall stress levels that may contribute to jaw pain.
  8. Posture Improvement:
    • Maintain good posture to reduce strain on the jaw. Avoid slouching, especially during activities like reading or working on a computer.
  9. Avoiding Habits:
    • Refrain from habits like chewing gum or biting on hard objects, as these can exacerbate jaw pain.
  10. Dental Hygiene:
    • Maintain good dental hygiene to prevent additional oral health issues that may contribute to jaw discomfort.


In conclusion, unraveling the intricate relationship between cold weather and heightened jaw pain reveals a nuanced interplay of factors. Muscle tension, stress, arthritis, dental sensitivity, and barometric pressure changes collectively contribute to the challenges faced by individuals during colder months.

By understanding these connections, individuals can adopt proactive coping strategies for relief. Lifestyle adjustments, dental care, and targeted interventions such as warm compresses or professional assistance form a comprehensive toolkit for managing winter-induced jaw discomfort.

Did you find this article helpful? If you would like to learn more about Sentinel Mouthguards products and services, visit our help center today!


sentinel mouthguards author
Ashely Notarmaso

Ashely Notarmaso is the author behind the Sentinel Mouth Guard Blog. She is the CEO and founder of Sentinel Mouth Guards (Founded in 2012) Her long-time work in the dental mouth guard arena and her excellent ability to listen to customer concerns in this often contradictory field has laid the groundwork to explore night guard/mouth guard fabrication in-depth and address real concerns. With the help of her team, she has created a unique fabrication method that promises a great fitting custom oral appliance every time. Amazon’s choice for #1 mouth guard! Visit the online store http://sentinelmouthguards.com

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