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.
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
Impaired control of jaw movements
Feeding issues related to jaw clenching:
develop the skills needed for feeding are greatly impacted.