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The Best and Worst Foods for People with a TMJ Disorder

November 11, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — drpusksas @ 9:22 pm
Young cheerful woman eating fruit salad.

When you have a TMJ disorder, navigating the culinary world can become a challenge. You want things that taste good but won’t cause a flare-up. If you’ve just been diagnosed with the condition, you might still be figuring out which foods can cause problems. Fortunately, there are plenty of appetizing dishes that will work for people with jaw problems. This guide will be able to tell you which foods are the best (and which are the worst) for your TMJ.

What Kind of Food Should I Have?

In general, you want foods that aren’t going to be that difficult to chew. Smoothies and purees can do wonders, but if you’re looking for something more solid, there are plenty of options to choose from. Baked vegetables, roasted salmon, and mashed potatoes are all examples of food that taste great but won’t cause a flare-up.

Anti-inflammatory foods can also be great choices for people with a TMJ disorder, as they can bring down swelling along the jaw. Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, and beans can mitigate some of your TMJ disorder’s more painful symptoms. Turmeric and ginger also have anti-inflammatory properties, so try experimenting with those as seasonings.

What Foods Should I Avoid?

Foods that are tough on your teeth and jaw are much more likely to cause a TMJ flare-up. Here are a few examples to watch out for.

  • Sticky or chewy foods, including gum
  • Crusty bread and bagels
  • Hard fruits and vegetables, like apples, carrots, and pears
  • Tough, chewy meats
  • Crunching up ice with your teeth

Some foods may not make your jaw hurt but have an inflammatory effect that will make your flare-ups worse when they happen. You don’t have to avoid these to the same extent that you should chewier foods, but cutting back might mitigate your symptoms:

  • Sweets, which can include pudding and ice cream
  • Refined Carbohydrates (white bread, pizza, pasta)
  • Fried Food
  • Trans-fats

Having a TMJ disorder requires you to think a little bit more about what you eat, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Use this as an opportunity to try foods you haven’t had before. You just might find a new favorite!

About the Author

Dr. Jane C. Puskas is a deeply qualified dentist with over 30 years of experience in her field. Her expertise extends across many fields of dentistry and includes TMJ therapy. Dr. Puskas graduated cum laude from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. She’s a member of many prestigious dental organizations, having served as the first female president and program chairwoman of the Hinman Dental Society. If you have any questions about how to take care of your TMJ, Dr. Puskas can be reached on her website or by phone at (404) 261-7488.

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