Jaw Clenching Oral Motor Problems

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You may have seen some of the oral motor problems posts in a recent series we’ve had here on The OT Toolbox.  We’ve been talking all about oral motor skills and today brings another in that series.  If you missed any of those posts, you can find all of the past posts on oral motor skills and how they relate to feeding here.   

 
Below you’ll find information related to jay clenching oral motor issues and the reasons that this particular oral motor problem occurs.  You’ll also find feeding issues that may ensue from jaw clenching.


 
Jaw clenching is an oral motor problem that interferes with feeding and eating. Help to understand jaw clenching and reasons it might occur.
Start by reading more about development of oral motor skills.
 

Jaw Clenching Oral Motor Problems

Jaw clenching occurs when the jaw moves into a tight position as a result of body movements and the ability to open the mouth occurs. Jaw clenching can result in shortening of jaw musculature and contractures.  This leads to anatomical inability to open the mouth.


It’s possible that the observation of a clenched jaw in feeding may be confused with stability biting and tonic bite response. 


Teeth grinding can occur as a result of a clenched jaw.


Jaw clenching occurs because of several reasons:


Poor posture with overall flexion

Over-Stimulating sensory environment

Increased stress

Impaired control of jaw movements

 

Feeding issues related to jaw clenching:

When a child presents with a clenched jaw, their ability to
develop the skills needed for feeding are greatly impacted.  
 
They cannot utilize rhythm in eating and
drinking. 
 
Initiation or sustained movement patterns during eating and drinking
are impacted.
 
Oral Motor Exercises
 
 
 
Jaw clenching is an oral motor problem that interferes with feeding and eating. Help to understand jaw clenching and reasons it might occur.
 
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