Your temporalis muscle is termed a muscle of mastication that is responsible for your jaw opening and closing through muscle contractions. The muscle is part of your temporomandibular joint functioning -- it's located on the side of your head near your temples, and it can be felt working by placing your hand over your temple while clenching and unclenching your jaw. The muscle can be strengthened by doing a variety of TMJ, temporomandibular joint, exercises.
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Using gentle pressure can help strengthen your temporalis muscle. Sit upright in a firm chair. Gently separate your teeth while keeping your mouth closed. Slowly move your teeth back with your chin until you feel your jaw move, according to Dr. Barrie Lewis with Chiropractic-help.com. Gently cup your chin and lower jaw with the web between your thumb and forefinger. Gently push your entire jaw forward into your hand. Hold for eight seconds. While relaxing your hand, slowly and gently push your lower jaw forward until your lower teeth protrude. Do not move your hand or head. Hold this pressure three seconds. Release the tension and slowly return your jaw to the original position. Relax 15 seconds. Repeat the exercise eight times.
Your tongue can be used to strengthen your temporalis muscle. Sit upright in a firm chair, with your back against the chair. Gently close your jaw and teeth together. Place the tip of your tongue just behind the top of your front teeth. While keeping your teeth closed, slowly move your tongue tip backward until your tongue covers the top of your mouth. Keep moving your tongue tip until you just feel your soft palate. Keep your tongue in place and slowly open your mouth until your tongue starts to move away from your soft palate. Open your mouth as wide as possible without letting your tongue move. Hold this position eight seconds. Slowly close your mouth and return your tongue to the original position. Relax 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise twice. Stop this exercise at the first sign of pain, clicking, tongue movement or popping.
Chewing is one of the functions performed by your temporalis muscle. Enhance this function by keeping your muscle strong and using chewing gum as an exercise tool. Place one piece of your favorite gum into your mouth. Slowly start opening and closing your mouth in a comfortable fashion while chewing the gum. Open and close your mouth in an up and down fashion. Do not open your mouth too far. Chew the gum for one or two minutes. Remove the gum and toss it out. Repeat this exercise twice daily. If your jaw is strong enough, move your jaw from side to side while chewing your gum. If gum is not to your liking, choose chewy foods such as caramels, taffy, whole grain bread or fresh fruits and vegetables.
Use your fist as an exercise aid to help strengthen your temporalis muscle. While sitting upright in a firm chair, gently close your mouth and teeth. Place your fist underneath your chin, according to the National Health Service. Slowly and firmly open your jaw and press it into your fist. Hold this tension for eight seconds. Do not move your fist. Release the tension and return your jaw to the original position. Relax 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise 10 times.