How to Strengthen Your Jaw Muscles

Facial attractiveness has been said to signal health and biological quality in humans. Facial characteristics we look for in a potential mate may include symmetry or distinctively masculine or feminine features.

A strong jawline can also point to health and attractiveness. That's where jaw-strengthening exercises can come in handy, though the reasons for strengthening the jaw go beyond the aesthetic. A jaw workout can also improve joint function, relieve pain and get the jaw back in shape after a surgery.

Exercises to Define the Jawline

According to Dr. Scott Michael Schreiber, a chiropractic physician, jaw exercises not only strengthen the jawline, but also prevent jaw pain, headaches and neck pain. In his opinion, the front neck muscles are often neglected in gym workouts, which may eventually lead to a droopy neck. He recommends exercises to keep neck muscles taut and the jawline muscular:

Neck Curl-Up: Lying on your back, bring your chin to your chest and lift your head about 2 inches off the floor. Avoid lifting your stomach or poking your chin out. Start with three sets of 10 neck curl-ups, and go slowly so that you don't strain your muscles.

Collarbone Backup: With your head level to the floor (while in a seated or standing position) bring your head back a few inches; then bring it back to the original position. Feel the throat muscles relax and contract. Start with three sets of 10 repetitions and make sure your head stays level.

Exercises to Improve Joint Functioning

Certain exercises will improve the functioning of jaw joints, strengthening the muscles that pull the jaw backward and relaxing the muscles that pull the jaw forward and side to side. This should take the strain off the joints and reduce any jaw pain. You can do this exercise for five minutes, twice a day:

  1. While sitting upright in a chair, close your mouth with your back teeth touching.
  2. Rest the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth behind the upper-front teeth.
  3. Keeping the teeth together, move your tongue along the roof of your mouth as far back as it will go.
  4. Begin to open your mouth until you feel your tongue being pulled away from the soft palate.
  5. Keep it there for five seconds; then let the mouth close. Relax for a few seconds; then repeat.

Make sure that as you do this exercise, there are no clicks or noises from the joints. In the first week, be sure not to do the exercise more than is recommended. After the first week, you can do the exercise as much as you want to help strengthen your jaw.

Strengthen the Jaw Post-Surgery

In the case of post-surgery strengthening, keep in mind that progress will be very gradual. Carolinas Center for Oral and Facial Surgery recommends avoiding jaw movement in the first week, although opening your mouth and moving your jaw from side to side may help.

Ten days to four weeks after surgery, you can move your jaw forward and backward, side to side and open and closed. You can continue these exercises four to eight weeks after surgery.

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