Four Foods to Avoid if You Have TMJ

Asian Family eating Yogurt together

If you grind your teeth while you sleep, clench, and have frequent headaches, and if your jaw clicks or pops when you chew, you may suffer from a TMJ disorder.

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, one of the most used joints in the body, and it’s not uncommon for an uncomfortable and irritating disorder to result due to overuse, genetics, and/or trauma. We offer a variety of treatments to help resolve this issue and restore balance and harmony to your jaw function, including stress management, nightguards, orthodontics, or even surgery, depending on the severity of the symptoms.

Do these symptoms sound familiar? If so, schedule a consultation with us as soon as possible, so we can get to the root of your problem and set you on a path to renewed oral health and wellness.

What to do for TMJ?

What most TMJ patients don’t realize is the effect food can have on their symptoms. We highly recommend the first thing you do is begin treating your TMJ at home by eliminating certain foods from your diet. Making appropriate changes to your diet will significantly decrease the amount of stress and pressure you place on your jaw joint.

What foods should you not eat when you have TMJ?

There are 4 types of food that can aggravate TMD joint pain and discomfort.

Avoid chewy foods.

Chewy foods agitate the jaw joint because they require excessive force to be broken down. If you notice your jaw has to work hard when eating certain foods, like taffy, soft caramels, bagels, and steak, replace them with bananas, yogurt, and mashed potatoes.

Stay away from crunchy foods.

Crunchy foods place extra pressure on the jaw joint and require a downward chewing force which can be painful. Try to avoid raw carrots, apples, and pretzels, and enjoy cooked vegetables and pasta instead.

Take smaller bites.

If you suffer from TMD, you’ve probably noticed that you are unable to open your mouth very wide. In fact, taking large bites is not only difficult but also painful. Steer clear of foods that require you to open your mouth excessively, like corn on the cob and apples. Cut them up and enjoy smaller bites.

Eliminate foods that cause inflammation.

Less obvious foods that increase joint pain are those that cause inflammation. Fatty and processed foods, such as those with refined carbs and sugars, high-fat content, and salt should be removed from your diet in order to limit inflammation. Say no to fried foods and red meats that have a tendency to fire up joint pain.

As you seek to heal and recover from TMD, integrate a soft diet into your routine and record any changes in your symptoms. If you’d like more information or tips and tricks for finding relief as you adjust your diet, make an appointment with Dr. Li today.

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