It’s the holiday season, and that means pulling out all the family classic TV shows. Around my house one of the favorites is How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and watching it this year, it occurred to me that the Grinch’s real problem isn’t his heart or his shoes, it’s his teeth. TMJ may be why he hates Christmas so much.

Malocclusion Galore

One of the striking characteristics of the Grinch’s smile (apart from the way his hair curls when he smiles) is how terrible his teeth are. They are so crooked and uneven that it’s hard to believe he has anything like a functional bite.

In fact, there are visible signs that his bite is poor: stress cracks in his teeth, a sign of bruxism, and it’s no wonder, too, because he engages in behaviors that are bad for his teeth. We see him chewing up a toothpick, and biting his nails, both of which can damage your teeth.

These damaged teeth are a creation of the 1966 televisions special that most of us grew up with. They weren’t in the 1957 book by Dr. Seuss, in which the Grinch never has teeth. They became such a part of the character that they were maintained and enhanced for the 2000 movie with Jim Carrey: the Grinch is actually portrayed with CGI termites in his smile, as alluded to by the song, “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”

The Grinch’s TMJ Symptoms

But what’s most convincing that the Grinch may have TMJ is that he has many of the classic symptoms. Part of the reason why he hates Christmas is the noise, which may be related to his chronic migraines and associated sound sensitivity. The portrayal of the noise, with drumsticks pounding the Grinch’s head, actually even reminds one of the tinnitus, in which sounds are generated inside a victim’s head. When the narrator notes that the Grinch’s head isn’t screwed on quite right, it may seem that way because of his chronic neck pain. He may also hate roast beast because chewing meat can be difficult and painful for people with TMJ.

The Grinch’s sudden strength at the end of the special even makes sense in terms of TMJ. When the jaw joint is misaligned, it can negatively impact core strength, balance, and respiration. If the Grinch found an optimal jaw position, it may have helped him to gain the strength of ten grinches, plus two. That allowed the Grinch to life the sled full of Christmas paraphernalia and ride back down into Whoville as a hero to finally enjoy some roast beast in peace.

Whether the actual Grinch had TMJ or not, TMJ’s painful symptoms can make anyone feel like a grinch. Don’t continue to suffer with your symptoms, please call (303) 691-0267 at the TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Colorado in Denver.