The Ideal Diet for Those with TMD

A happy asian family

If you suffer from temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders, also known as TMJ or TMD, you’re undoubtedly scouring the internet in search of relief. What can you eat and what should you avoid? These are common questions for those experiencing pain in the jaw joint, difficulty with chewing or biting, toothaches, headaches, or neck aches, clicking or popping sounds in your jaw, a locked jaw, the inability to open your jaw all the way, or facial swelling.

Scheduling an appointment with an experienced and skilled oral surgeon is the first and most crucial step in finding adequate TMJ treatment. In the meantime, read on for nutritional tips on easing your jaw pain.

Food and TMJ

If you’ve been told to avoid crunchy, chewy foods, that’s good advice. You don’t want to further aggravate the problem with food that exhausts your already tired jaw. But there’s more to it than that. The nutritional value of the food you consume plays a bigger part in the health of your mouth than most people realize.

Creating a diet that actually strengthens your jaw muscles is half the battle. Here’s what to eat when your jaw is bothering you.

What foods cause inflammation?

When it comes to TMJ, nothing fires up the jaw pain you’re experiencing than foods that are sugary and processed. Even if the food is soft, don’t be fooled. Salty and fatty foods and refined carbohydrates cause the tissues to flare up, and too much intake of these foods can lead to chronic inflammation which can cause a variety of serious illnesses.

Inflammatory Foods to Avoid

  • Foods with added sugars, like bread, salad dressing, crackers, and granola bars
  • Foods with trans fats, such as restaurant foods and baked goods.
  • Red and processed meat, including bacon, salami, sausage, and deli meats
  • Foods with omega-6 fatty acids, like mayonnaise, peanut oil, canola, oil, and corn oil
  • Refined carbohydrates, such as white rice, French fries, rolls, and sugary cereals

Anti-inflammatory Foods to Enjoy

Include the following anti-inflammatory foods in your diet: dark, leafy greens, whole grains, fish, and soy.

What foods contribute to jaw joint health?

Here’s the rule of thumb for foods that are good to eat when your jaw hurts: Eat foods that are good for your overall health! Remember that your oral health is closely connected to your whole body health.

In addition to boosting your jaw health, vitamin C is essential in the growth and maintenance of most of the tissues in your body.

These include foods that are rich in:

  • Vitamin C, such as citrus, green and red peppers, strawberries, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and melons.
  • Vitamin E, which is found in avocados, abalone, salmon, mangos, blackberries, cranberries, raspberries, more
  • Magnesium, including black beans, quinoa, greens, and chocolate
  • Selenium, like tuna, turkey, cottage cheese, mushrooms, eggs, oats, and beef

Soft Food Diet

Integrating soft foods into your diet is obvious. And you don’t need a list of those. Anything non-crunchy goes. The point is to allow your jaw to relax, recover, and heal. Once your jaw is restored and no longer suffers from TMD, it’s time to gradually return to your normal diet. The soft-food stage is just temporary—a path to full recovery and healing.

And remember, it’s important you schedule an appointment with the best oral surgeon, so you can get a handle on what’s really causing you pain and map out a treatment plan as soon as possible. Don’t wait. Call Flushing OMS today!

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