Why Do My Temples Swell When I Chew

Swelling in the temples while chewing is a common issue that many individuals experience. The sensation of swollen temples can be discomforting, and it’s essential to understand the underlying causes. Several factors contribute to this phenomenon, ranging from harmless issues to potentially severe conditions.

Muscle Strain

One possible explanation for temple swelling during chewing is muscle strain. The temporalis muscle, a large muscle that covers the sides of the head, is responsible for jaw movement during chewing. When this muscle is overused or subjected to excessive pressure, it can result in swelling and discomfort in the temples.

To alleviate muscle strain, it is recommended to practice jaw exercises regularly. These exercises help strengthen the muscles around the temples and jaw, preventing strain and reducing the chances of swelling during chewing. Additionally, applying a warm compress to the affected area can provide relief and promote relaxation of the muscles.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) is a condition that affects the jaw joint and muscles surrounding it. TMJ-related issues can cause swelling and pain in the temples while chewing. TMJ can be caused by various factors such as misalignment of the teeth, trauma, stress, or dental problems.

If you suspect that TMJ may be the cause of your temple swelling, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a dentist. They can assess your symptoms and provide appropriate recommendations for treatment, which may include physical therapy, medications, stress management techniques, or in some cases, dental interventions.

Salivary Gland Infection

Another possible explanation for temple swelling during chewing is a salivary gland infection. The salivary glands, located in various areas of the mouth, produce saliva to aid in the digestion process. Infections in these glands can occur due to blockages, bacteria, or viral infections.

Common symptoms of salivary gland infections include swelling, tenderness, pain, and difficulty in opening the mouth wide. If you experience these symptoms or suspect an infection, it is important to seek medical attention. Treatment for salivary gland infections may involve antibiotics, warm compresses, or, in severe cases, surgical intervention.


Sinusitis, an inflammation of the sinus cavities due to infection or allergies, can also lead to temples swelling while chewing. The sinuses are located near the temples, and when inflammation occurs, it can cause pain and swelling in the surrounding areas, including the temples.

To relieve sinusitis-related swelling, various home remedies can be helpful. These include using saline nasal sprays, applying warm compresses, staying hydrated, and using over-the-counter medications to reduce inflammation. If symptoms persist or worsen, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation and treatment.

Medication Side Effects

In some cases, temple swelling during chewing may be a side effect of certain medications. Medications that can potentially cause swelling include those used to treat high blood pressure, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, and calcium channel blockers.

If you suspect that your medication may be causing temple swelling, it is crucial to consult with your healthcare provider. They can review your medications and may prescribe alternative options or adjust the dosage to alleviate this side effect.

In conclusion, temple swelling during chewing can be caused by various factors, including muscle strain, TMJ, salivary gland infections, sinusitis, or medication side effects. It is essential to identify the underlying cause and seek appropriate medical advice if the symptoms persist or worsen. By addressing the root cause, individuals can find relief and improve their overall oral health and well-being.