When fall arrives, many people look forward to cooler weather and seasonal treats such as crisp apples, Halloween candy, and pumpkin-flavored treats. But when you’re dealing with a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), it can be difficult to find treats that are safe for your jaw and your overall oral health.
Fortunately, you can enjoy the fall months without damaging your jaw or irritating your TMD pain — if you know how to choose the best treats or even make your own. Check out our favorite TMD-friendly fall treats that you can enjoy at home.
Caramel Apple Smoothies
Instead of biting into a sugary, gooey caramel apple, make it jaw friendly by turning it into a healthy smoothie! Not only can you avoid excess exposure to sugar, which can prompt headaches and harm your teeth, but you’ll give your jaw a break while still enjoying this trademark fall flavor.
- ½ C milk or dairy-free milk alternative
- 1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped into chunks
- ½ cup of vanilla greek yogurt
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- Dash of cinnamon or allspice
- ½ C ice cubes
Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.
You can still enjoy some delicious apple cider this fall, and even add some warm spices for an extra kick and health benefits. Avoid adding alcohol; it offers no health benefit and drinking has been shown to aggravate chronic pain or jaw pain in many people.
- 1 quart apple cider
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 3-4 whole cloves
- ⅛ tsp nutmeg
- Zest of one lemon (optional)
Heat all ingredients in a pot on the stove top on medium heat for 5-7 minutes or until hot. Strain in a fine mesh strainer and serve while warm.
Can’t resist those sweet fall apples? You don’t have to, if you make your own delicious homemade applesauce. Delicious warm or chilled, applesauce can provide you with all the health benefits of fresh apples without the strain on your jaw. You can sweeten it to your liking and use fresh spices, and avoid much of the sugar found in commercial applesauces.
- 3-4 pounds of apples, peeled, cored, and chunked
- 1 C of water
- 3” of cinnamon stick or ½ tsp ground cinnamon (may use ground allspice or apple pie spice instead)
- 4 tsp brown sugar
Add apples, water, sugar, and cinnamon to a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick, and mash with a potato masher or run through a blender or food processor for a smoother texture. Serve warm with extra cinnamon or chill.
Halloween Candy — Making Smart Choices
Enjoying a small amount of Halloween candy in moderation is possible, even with TMD. Avoid “chewy” anything, such as caramels, gummies, fruit snacks, and dried fruits. Soft, jaw-friendly alternatives include a piece of healthy dark chocolate, hard candy (don’t chew it), and soft baked pumpkin bread or cookies, preferably with healthy ingredients such as whole wheat flour, nut butters, and minimal sugar (xylitol is a great teeth-friendly alternative!).
Is TMD pain interfering with your enjoyment of the season? Get the treatment you deserve by contacting MedCenter TMJ today!