If you’re suffering from Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or TMJ, you understand how oppressive it can become. From serious jaw pain, headaches, and tinnitus, to even changing the appearance of your jaw through joint displacement, TMJ is a serious disorder that can significantly affect your quality of life. While treatment options are available, changing your daily diet can help temper the severity of symptoms.
The relationship between nutrition and your jaw is an important one, so below are four tips to make your diet TMJ friendly.
Avoid High-impact Foods
Any food that requires your jaw to work harder should be avoided. This can include potato chips, nuts, hard bread, suckers, or taffy. Habits such as chewing ice or gum can also be damaging. Anything that requires the jaw to work harder can overstimulate the joint and lead to further damage.
Stay Away From Inflammatory Foods
Processed foods, sugars, and refined carbohydrates are not only bad for your teeth, they’re bad for you jaw as well. Inflammation is the immune system’s response to injury and infection. While it can be useful sectioning off parts of the body to avoid the spread of infection or damage, it can significantly hinder the healing process. That’s why avoiding inflammatory foods such as the ones above can help to ease jaw pain. Other habits to avoid are drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco as these can also have an inflammatory effect.
While foods such as sugars and carbohydrates encourage inflammation, an anti-inflammatory diet does the opposite. Eating foods high in Omega-3, such as salmon and trout, can help ease pain. Blueberries, turmeric, and ginger also suppress inflammation. The biggest improvement to your diet and, eventually, your jaw pain, would simply be to eat as many fresh fruits and vegetables as possible, taking special care to cook the harder vegetables such as carrots.
Pay Attention To Your Body
Perhaps the best advice for changing your diet to lessen the severity of TMJ is to pay attention to your body. If eating a certain food causes pain or muscle soreness afterwards then take note, and avoid that food in the future.
It is possible that diet changes may not be enough to control TMJ. If you’re experiencing TMJ pain, then you should schedule an appointment immediately. TMJ is a degenerative disorder that will worsen over time, making it more costly and difficult to treat in the future.