Why Am I Waking Up With Jaw Pain? 5 Reasons and Solutions

Waking up with jaw pain is an uncomfortable way to start your day and can leave you searching for answers, right?


Understanding the root cause of your morning jaw pain is the first step to finding relief. From silent stressors like mouth breathing and teeth grinding to underlying conditions such as TMJ disorders and dental issues, the reasons behind this pain can vary greatly. 


In this article, we’re here to uncover the mysteries behind jaw pain and the steps you can take to turn it around. 

What Causes Jaw Pain in the Morning?

Numerous factors could be at play if you're waking up with jaw pain. By exploring these potential causes, you can start to understand why discomfort greets you at the start of your day.


NOTE: Similarly, if you find yourself waking up with a sore throat <--- we also have a guide for you!


Mouth Breathing

Mouth breathing while sleeping is a very common cause of jaw pain in the mornings, since keeping your mouth open all night while breathing can strain your facial and jaw muscles.


Over time, this can also cause your jaw to shift out of its natural alignment, which might put pressure on the temporomandibular joint (also known as TMJ for short), resulting in increasing pain in this area.


It’s thought that mouth breathing may also worsen issues like teeth grinding (bruxism), which can also cause jaw pain and tension.


You can find out more about why you can't breathe through your nose when you sleep.


The most effective way to eliminate mouth breathing is by incorporating a Dream Recovery Mouth Tape into your sleeping routine. 


Made from organic bamboo silk, Dream Recovery Mouth Tape is luxuriously soft and comfortable, naturally antibacterial, and hypoallergenic for even the most sensitive skin.




Try Dream Recovery Mouth Tape now.

TMJ Disorders

Disorders involving the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) - the joint that connects your jaw to your skull, are a common cause of jaw pain and discomfort.


TMJ disorders can stem from various habits or conditions that cause tension and strain within the joint area and surrounding muscles, such as teeth grinding, jaw injuries, and jaw overuse (such as from persistent gum chewing or binge eating).


Such conditions might manifest as pain across your jaw, face, and neck, alongside a sensation of stiffness in the jaw. Severe TMJ disorders have the potential to restrict jaw movement and even result in the misalignment of your teeth.


Teeth Grinding or Clenching 

A likely cause of morning jaw pain is often teeth grinding, known as bruxism. If you’re grinding or clenching your teeth at night, this can lead to discomfort in your jaw area, as well as tooth pain and sensitivity.


A dentist can usually diagnose teeth grinding by undertaking a physical examination of your mouth.


Dental Issues

If left untreated, cavities in your teeth can lead to throbbing jaw pain when the decay spreads to the deeper layers of your tooth and the surrounding bone.


Gum disease can also cause significant pain as a result of inflammation caused by bacteria and plaque buildup. Without treatment, the discomfort can extend into the jawbone as well. 


Last but not least, wisdom teeth can also be behind jaw pain. There often isn’t enough room in our mouths for these final molars to develop, which can result in pressure on other teeth as they grow in. There’s also a chance they can become impacted or grow in the wrong direction, resulting in jaw pain and stiffness.


Sleeping Position

Certain sleeping positions can place pressure on your face or jaw, leading to pain upon waking. 


It might happen if you sleep on your stomach or your side with a hand underneath your cheek since this can push your jaw into a position that is out of its natural alignment.


5 Treatments to Stop Your Jaw Pain in the Morning

Now that we’ve covered the possible causes of your morning jaw pain, it’s time to examine 5 effective strategies to help you find relief, offering a combination of simple at-home practices and professional treatments. 

Mouth Tape

Mouth taping involves gently taping your lips shut while you sleep to prevent your mouth from opening and to encourage nasal breathing (your body’s natural breathing pathway).


By encouraging nasal breathing, mouth taping can also help to prevent jaw pain caused by poor dental health, since mouth breathing can promote bacterial overgrowth that can contribute to cavities and gum disease over time.


Dream Recovery Mouth Tape is a simple, comfortable, and effective intervention to prevent mouth breathing and reduce jaw discomfort, all while improving overall sleep quality and well-being. 


Try Dream Recovery Mouth Tape today and wake up pain-free.


Mouth Guards

If your jaw pain mainly stems from teeth grinding or clenching, a sleep mouth guard may offer you some relief.


Mouth guards act as a protective barrier between both your upper and lower teeth, preventing them from grinding against each other. 


Not only can they reduce wear and tear on your teeth but they may also help to alleviate the pressure on your TMJ joint, which can lessen your jaw pain and stiffness in the mornings.


While over-the-counter mouth guards are available, typically these devices should be custom-fitted by a dentist or orthopedic specialist to fit your unique mouth shape and dental structure. 


We also explore whether mouthguards help with snoring


Change Your Sleeping Position

Sleeping on your back is usually the best position to prevent jaw tension.


By naturally aligning your spine, head, and neck, sleeping on your back can reduce the strain on your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), preventing jaw pain upon waking.


If you’re used to sleeping on your stomach or your side, it can take some time to train yourself to sleep on your back, so be patient. 


You might find it helpful to sleep with a pillow underneath your knees, as this promotes the natural curvature of your spine, relieving pressure on your lower back. 


TMJ Treatments 

If you’re diagnosed with a TMJ disorder, your doctor can help you decide on the best course of action for your unique case. 


Treatment options typically include stress reduction techniques (since jaw clenching is often a symptom of chronic stress and anxiety), as well as pain medications, corrective dental procedures, heat therapy, jaw exercises, and sometimes even botox injections in the muscles surrounding the joint.


Successful management of TMJ disorders usually combines several strategies at once tailored to your specific symptoms.



Visit Your Dentist

A comprehensive examination by your dentist will help to determine if your jaw pain originates from dental concerns like cavities, gum disease, or wisdom teeth.


If cavities are present, your dentist will fill them to prevent further decay, inflammation, and pain.


For gum disease, you may need regular deep cleaning by a hygienist or other more advanced forms of treatment to alleviate bacterial infections and inflammation that could be contributing to jaw pain.


If your wisdom teeth are putting pressure on the surrounding teeth and jaw, they may need to be extracted in order to relieve the pain and avoid further complications. 



Is it normal to have a stuffy nose when sleeping?

Yes, it’s common to experience a stuffy nose while sleeping since lying down can make it harder for excess mucus to drain out of your nose, leading to congestion.


Can stress cause jaw pain?

Yes, stress can cause jaw pain as a result of subconscious clenching, which puts pressure on the temporomandibular joint. Stress can also lead to teeth grinding while we sleep, resulting in jaw pain and tension. 


Can I use mouth tape if I have a TMJ disorder?

Yes, you can use mouth tape if you have TMJ disorder. Mouth taping may even help to relieve jaw pain by preventing your mouth from opening at night while sleeping, reducing jaw tension.


Final Thoughts

Understanding and addressing the root causes of morning jaw pain, from mouth breathing and teeth grinding to TMJ disorders and dental issues, is crucial for finding the right solutions to provide relief. 


Incorporating simple practices like mouth taping and changing sleep positions, along with seeking professional treatments, can significantly alleviate discomfort and improve overall dental health.


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Try Dream Recovery Mouth Tape today and wake up pain-free.

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