Jaw pain, commonly known as TJM, is a problem for millions of patients around the world. If you are reading this article, your Tampa dentist has likely set a plan in place to help reduce pain and manage symptoms, and your diet is a great place to start. What we eat impacts our health in so many aspects, but it can also impact our teeth and jaws. By changing your diet, you and your Tampa dentist can help improve your jaw pain and make life a little bit easier for you.
First things first, is what to eat. You will want to avoid foods that are considered “high impact,” meaning they will require a lot of effort by your teeth and jaws. This would include things like nuts, chips, or even chewy foods like caramel or taffy. If you suffer from TMJ you may already know not to chew gum, but cutting this from your diet can also help improve jaw pain; the repetitive pressure gum chewing puts on your jaw can quickly cause a TMJ flare up. Reducing the quantities of these foods should relax your jaw, reducing TMJ pain. If there are foods you really enjoy but are concerned are causing problems, ask your Tampa dentist if these can be consumed in moderation.
Now that you know the foods you should avoid, we wanted to provide tips on how to eat in order to help alleviate pain. This may seem self-explanatory, but proper eating habits can have a huge impact on both your teeth and jaws. Making sure you are taking small bites and thoroughly, slowly, chewing can greatly help with TMJ pain. We often eat quickly and these large bites can overwork the jaw, leaving you with pain and discomfort afterward. As mentioned above, eating softer foods or using a sauce of some kind to soften food before eating is also a great way to reduce jaw pain. If you can, drinking smoothies in order to get your servings of fruit and vegetables can give your jaw a break.
Dealing with TMJ can be a constant struggle, but changing your diet and eating habits can have a huge impact on your pain levels. Knowing what to and eat how means you can reduce pain and suffering from TMJ.