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.
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).
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.
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 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.