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What to Eat (and Avoid) with Jaw Pain from TMD

Submitted by Michael R. Cortese, D.M.D. on Mon 09/05/2016 - 09:00

Individuals that struggle with the pain of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder may find it difficult to consume their normal diet because the foods aggravate the jaw and joints. However, nutrition is integral to health, and lack of a proper diet can lead to other health problems. Here, Dr. Michael Cortese of Princeton Prosthodontics reveals foods that people with TMJ can enjoy and those they should avoid.

Soups

Eating a diet of soft foods gives your jaw and joints a chance to rest. Cream-based or broth-based soups are a great option (try to avoid soups that have celery pieces).

Smoothies

Yogurt-based smoothies are another staple in a soft foods diet. Adding protein powder or ground up flax seed can help bulk up the smoothie. Pureed frozen fruit or frozen spinach can also add nutritional value.

Pasta

Well-cooked pasta is a filling option that won’t aggravate the jaw. It’s better than quinoa or rice, both of which can have hard pieces. Make sure to cook the pasta a few extra minutes so it is extra soft.

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are another filling food that is easy to eat. You can add soft toppings like butter, sour cream, cheese and chives to enhance the flavor.

What to Avoid

If your jaw is bothering you, you need to steer clear of foods that are crunchy or chewy. Stay away from raw fruits and vegetables, hard pieces of bread and tough meats. Also, as you chew, take small bites of small pieces of food; don’t take big bites that require you to open your mouth too wide.

You should avoid caffeinated beverages, like coffee and tea. Caffeine can aggravate the muscle tension associated with TMD. Swap out your coffee and tea for decaffeinated options.

Also, refrain from chewing gum, which can cause you to tense your jaw muscles and overwork your jaw joint. And finally, avoid chewing on your fingernails or a pencil. Replace those habits with squeezing a stress ball or something similar.

Contact Our Prosthodontist

If you have been diagnosed with TMD, or if you are experiencing jaw pain that could indicate a problem with your TMJ, Dr. Michael Cortese can help. Please contact Princeton Prosthodontics to schedule a consultation with the doctor.

Princeton Prosthodontics - Dr. Michael Cortese

Dr. Michael Cortese image
Dr. Michael Cortese is a leading and highly sought-after Maxillofacial Prosthodontist. He one of only 350 accredited Maxillofacial Prosthodontists worldwide. Having completed his education at the University of Notre Dame and Farleigh Dickinson University School of Dentistry, he received his Certificate in Maxillofacial Prosthetics and Dental Oncology from the University of Texas Health Science Center M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute. He has over three and a half decades of experience and constantly focuses on ensuring that patients have a healthy and beautiful smile. Dr. Cortese takes pride in providing his patients with customized treatments using modern equipment and techniques. He sincerely believes in thoroughly understanding your concerns and requirements to ensure your comfort and satisfaction throughout the course of any treatment or procedure.