When it comes to managing temporomandibular disorders (TMD), what you eat plays a crucial role. That’s why Dr. Auvenshine and Dr. Pettit teach all their patients about following a TMJ-friendly diet. This includes avoiding foods that are sticky, crunchy, chewy, and hard.
If your jaw is causing you pain, switching to this diet is one of the ways you can find relief, along with a comprehensive treatment plan. Many foods can be cooked or prepared in a way that makes them softer and easier on the jaw. But, along with the obvious problem foods, there are other factors you need to consider.
Food Size and Shape
Do you love to bite into a piled-high, juicy burger? Think about how much your jaw has to stretch to get a taste of that sandwich. If you’re trying to get jaw irritation and inflammation under control, you’re better off cutting it into small bite-sized pieces. You should also stick to tender cuts of meat and skip the chewy ones.
This also applies to biting into an apple or other piece of fruit. If you’re opening your mouth wide, you don’t necessarily need to give up that food. But, you do need to rethink how you can cut it up or otherwise make it TMJ-friendly. Smoothies are a great option for fresh fruits and vegetables alike.
How Long You Chew
Some foods seem like they may be soft, but they actually require a lot of effort to get them down your throat. A chewy piece of crusty bread, a salad, or similar food can require a lot of work from your jaw. It’s important to think about the softness of the food as well as how much chewing it requires. If you have jaw pain when swallowing, your food needs to be well chewed before it enters the throat. Make this as easy as possible by selecting foods that are able to be chewed quickly and with less effort.
Using Your Utensils
Another rule of thumb for TMJ issues is to think about whether your food requires a sharp knife to cut it. Meats, in particular, can be difficult to cut and therefore harder to chew. Slow cooking meats often yields a softer, more tender texture that’s easy on the jaw. If you can’t cut it easily with a butter knife, find another way to prepare it or choose a more tender food in the future.
The Right Foods for Rest
When you’re working to get your TMJ pain under control, you need to eat foods that nourish your body and give your jaw a break. Although it may take some extra thought and effort, a TMJ-friendly diet is a great way to help relieve some of your symptoms and get on the path to healing.
If you have jaw pain or other symptoms of TMJ, the staff at MedCenter TMJ want to help. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment so you can start feeling great again!