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Food to prefer while having TMJ pain

Photo Courtesy of JoshuaHongDDS - Shen Chao

Are you currently suffering from TMJ disorder? Or were you facing this painful disorder in the past?

If yes, then you know how strong you need to be to bear its pain. You are amongst approximately 12% of the USA population who suffers from TMJ. There are various causes of TMJ like stress, hormonal changes, improper diet, etc.

In the upcoming sections, we are going to reveal details about the soft food diet for TMJ.A nutritious and balanced diet is essential for everyone. But, if you are suffering from TMJ, you need to be extra careful with your choices.

Striking a balance between a nutritious diet and a TMJ diet can be tricky in the beginning. But it will not seem complicated with time. Here we are making it simpler for you by providing you with a checklist of what to eat and what not to eat.

What to Eat?

  • Consume soft fruits like bananas, canned fruits, melons, pears, etc.
  • Eat cooked and soft vegetables with pealed skin.
  • For protein intake, eat soft protein-rich food like fish, eggs, tofu, chicken, etc. Refrain from chewy meat like steak.
  • You can eat soft slices of bread and grains without nuts and seeds. You can also eat oatmeal, pasta, muffins, boiled beans, etc.
  • One food category which you can enjoy eating without any fear is dairy products. Food like cheese, yogurt, ice-cream, and milk will not attract a TMJ flare-up. However, be cautious about your lactose tolerance and other dietary restrictions.
  • You can drink liquids like smoothies, purees, juices, and soup in abundance. But don’t garnish them with any hard, crunchy, or fibrous food items.
  • Eat anti-inflammatory foods like grains, turmeric, ginger, etc.

What not to Eat?

  • Restrict crunchy foods like biscuits, cookies, crackers, chips, breadsticks, etc.
  • Your jaw is not prepared for thick and chewy foods like fibrous meat& vegetables, chewing gums, etc.
  • Sticky food like gummies, popcorn, bagels, etc., should be avoided.
  • Hard foods like raw apples, raw carrots, nuts, hard candies, pretzels, etc., are not suitable during TMJ.
  • Restrict all processed foods with high sugar, fructose, and corn sweeteners like sugar syrup and soft drinks.
  • Avoid a high-fat diet because saturated fat increases inflammation in the body.
  • You need to change the way you eat foodwhich is large enough to open your jaw wide like whole apple, giant sandwiches, and burgers. Cut large food items into small pieces to consume them.

Meal Ideas!
Check out the following TMJ-friendly and nutritious meal ideas for you.

  • Breakfast
    Smoothies, scrambled eggs, spinach, and oatmeal. Add some anti-inflammatory elements like turmeric, black pepper, and gingers.
  • Lunch
    Burritos, soup, brown steamed rice, boiled beans, roasted soft meat, tuna salad, and muffins.
  • Dinner
    Boiled brown rice with curry, mashed or baked potato. You can opt for sweet potato as well. Whole grain pasta, roasted chicken, and vegetables.
  • Mid-meal Snacks
    Anything soft and mushy like cheese, cottage cheese, melons, banana, peanut butter, and yogurt. It would be best if you listen to your body. If you are feeling week on a TMJ diet, search for alternates. You will know in some time which foods soothe your jaw andalso provides nutrition to your body.

Final Word!
Apart from maintaining a soft food diet for TMJ, managing your stress also helps control TMJ flare-ups. Try breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, and other stress management techniques. Ask for suggestions regarding TMJ pain relief exercises from your dentist.

Use a mouth guard to prevent damage by clenching. Apply Ice on affected areas to get relief from the pain. It would help to get a consultation appointment with your dentist. They will be able to help you manage TMJ disorder most effectively.


Shen Chao

Shen Chao is part of Dr. Joshua Hong’s Smile Clinic. While working for the Smile Clinic, he's gained first hand experiences into the questions and concerns that dental patients have. He has witnessed how dental implants can improve people’s smile and boost their self-confidence. Shen has also been writing to inform people about various dental topics to help his readers improve their oral health. If you are interested in improving your smile or need a dental procedure, contact Shen Chao to learn more by emailing him at contact@joshuahongdds.com or get more information at www.joshuahongdds.com. When he's not working, you can find him on a hiking trail with his dog or having a Sunday cook-out with friends. 

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