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Pain in the jaws on eating and drinking can occur for a number of different reasons. The problem may be with your temporomandibular joint (the one that you use for opening and closing your mouth), it may be a nerve-related disorder, it may be referred pain from a decayed tooth, or it may be an allergic reaction.

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)

The TMJ is a notoriously weak joint and is supported by a number of different muscles all acting in harmony with each other. This balance can be disturbed for a number of different reasons. Your occlusion, which is the way the teeth come in contact with each other, may be altered in such a way that it puts pressure on the attached muscles, leading to cramps in the jaw and pain on opening.

This type of pain typically increases after eating and drinking, as the muscles get tired easily.

Another cause of this kind of pain can be bruxism. This is when a person has the habit of night grinding. The constant wear on the teeth ruins the occlusion and puts an enormous amount of strain on the muscles, even when they should be resting. This habit is to identify as the teeth will be worn away and have multiple wear facets and jagged edges to prove that fact.

Nerve Disorder

Certain syndromes, like Frey's syndrome, Trigeminal neuralgia and others, can cause pain in the jaw muscles. A patient suffering from Frey's syndrome will usually have sweating while he chews. Pain in the jaws is a less common symptom although it too can be present.

Trigeminal neuralgia causes severe pain and affects different areas of the face and jaws. It is usually triggered by certain events (shaving, cold wind, etc) and causes sudden sharp stabbing pain.

Decayed Tooth

Pain in the jaws can be from a tooth which is either decayed or even one that has roots exposed because of periodontal disease. This is one cause that is extremely common and should be looked at first. In fact, even if there is no apparent decay, an injury to the tooth can make it extremely sensitive to hot and cold sensations.

Recent reports say that certain compounds found in food and alcoholic drinks are capable of wearing away the root covering of the teeth and cause extreme pain over the course of time.

Allergic Reaction

It would be almost impossible for an allergy to manifest only with pain and not with anything else, however even this aspect should be looked into.

Stop using any new oral hygiene products that may be causing an allergic reaction.

If the pain comes after a particular food or drink then that too should be stopped for a while to investigate it further.

The treatment for this will depend upon the cause that is eventually identified. The diagnosis of a nerve or a jaw disorder is slow and gradual and will require a lot of fine tuning until the patient finally gets comfortable, while a problem with the teeth is much easier to treat.

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