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Glucosamine and The Temporomandibular Joint

January 24, 2022 / DENTISTRY

The temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) is located in front of each ear, it opens and closes the jaw. The TMJ is the most complicated joint in the body since it provides both a rotary and a sliding movement. About 10% of the population suffers from temporomandibular dysfunction, pain in the jaw joint or facial muscles that control the jaw.

Glucosamine is often touted by natural healthcare practitioners to help alleviated joint arthritis. A new study comparing 1500mg of glucosamine daily to 1200mg of Ibuprofen daily for alleviating temporomandibular joint osteoarthritis symptoms shows promise. A 90 day treatment course of each showed positive outcomes (at least 20% decrease in TMJ pain and function) in 71 % of glucosamine patients and 61 % of Ibuprofen patients. As well glucosamine had a carryover benefit for several weeks not seen with Ibuprofen. This promising result means glucosamine, derived usually from shellfish, can often be helpful for TMJ symptoms without the deleterious side effects of NSAID (stomach ulcers, indigestion, increased bleeding times, headaches etc.).

Glucosamine is metabolized down to macromolecules, such as hyaluronic acid, which help in the growth and development of joint cartilage and bone. Glucosamine stimulates the growth of new cells and tissues and also reduces inflammation.

Generally glucosamine does not interfere with prescription medications and may be a good natural alternative to Ibuprofen for TMJ pain.

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