4 Types of Food to Avoid When Suffering From TMJ Pain

Woman holding apple with pain in jawAre you suffering from TMJ? TMJ is the abbreviation used to describe temporomandibular joint. Joints that are located on each side of your face that is attached to the bottom of your skull.

Temporomandibular joints (TMJ) is a chronic condition that’s not uncommon. People who suffer from TMJ experience various symptoms such as ear pain, headaches, loud popping or cracking noises when chewing and yawning and limited jaw movement.

The TMJ is used for moving your jaw around, up and down and side to side. The joints are located in front of your ears and its purpose is to allow you to speak and eat. It also has a protective cartilage, a tissue that takes in the responsibility of the day-to-day motions of eating and talking.

The cause of TMJ can occur from joint damage due to arthritis, an impact or blow to the jaw area or disc erodes. Some of the symptoms of TMJ, signs which tell that it is time to see a doctor, may include:

  • Grinding or clenching of your teeth
  • Sore, stiff muscle around your jaws
  • Pain to open your mouth, eat or yawn
  • Hurts when you chew
  • Headaches or neck pain

How Does Food Affect TMJ?

Having TMJ can sometimes get in the way of consuming a nutritious meal, which is important to your health. That’s why you must practice eating right to avoid flare-ups. Take time in preparing your meals.

People who have TMJ should adjust their diet to avoid certain foods that worsen the condition. The solution to this problem, instead of foods that make your jaw work harder, choose softer foods like mashed potatoes, bananas, fish and tender cuts of meats. Take small bites, chew slowly, remove the skin from fruits and vegetables, make smoothies.

Foods to Avoid With TMJ

Here’s a partial list of foods to avoid. Although, some might seem obvious and some might not – think about the foods you chew daily. How do they affect you?

1. Crunchy/Hard Foods

These foods require extra force and chewing to fully breakdown. They may longer to chew and force the TMJ muscle to work hard. They include the following:

  • Popcorn
  • Chips
  • Crackers
  • Nuts
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Jicama
  • Chickpea
  • Hard/raw vegetables
  • Carrots
  • Apples
  • Corn on the cob
  • Hard candies
  • Ice

2. Chewy Foods

These foods require a lot more chewing and constant motion could irritate an already irritated joint. These foods include the following:

  • Chewing gum
  • Taffy
  • Caramel
  • Tougher cuts of meats
  • Lobster

3. Fatty Foods

Foods high in saturated fats can worsen inflammation and include the following:

  • Fried foods
  • Cream sauces
  • Pastries
  • Red meat

4. Large Pieces of Foods

These foods require you to stretch open the jaw wider, which can cause joint pain. They include the following:

  • Whole fruit
  • Big sandwiches
  • Burgers

Not knowing what foods to eat when suffering from TMJ can be frustrating, so keeping a list of foods to avoid when planning your next meal or snack can be helpful.

Contact AZ-TMJ Today

You shouldn’t have to live your life in TMJ pain, not with today’s technology. AZ TMJ offers many options for treatment.

Your pain doesn’t have to be permanent. Call Dr. Farrell for a consultation at 480-945-3629 today.