This post was updated on 10-25-2018
If you suffer from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, you know how painful it can be to chew certain foods. There are many possible TMJ treatment options to help alleviate the pain caused by TMJ disorder (TMD). One such treatment option is to modify your diet to see what affect that has on your TMJ pain.
There are two aspects of diet modification for the treatment of TMJ. The first aspect of the “TMJ diet” is intended to help rest your TMJ so you do not further aggravate the problem. The second aspect of a TMJ diet is to eat foods that can actually help strengthen your jaw muscles. Let’s take a look at what foods to eat when your jaw hurts.
Soft Food Diet for TMJ
TMJ pain can be intermittent and may be activated by overusing the TMJ. To help rest your TMJ, try eating soft foods. A soft-food diet generally consists of well-cooked vegetables and fruits, eggs, soups, yogurt and smoothies. When following a soft-foods diet, it is important to make sure you are still getting the necessary amounts of vitamins, fiber, protein and other nutrients. If you are lacking any of these, consider taking nutritional supplements while you are on a soft-food diet.
Here are a number of soft-food suggestions to get you started:
- Scrambled eggs
- Fruit and yogurt smoothie
- Hot cereals (e.g., Cream of Wheat, grits, oatmeal, porridge)
- Cottage cheese
- Soft chicken
- Ground meat
- Well-cooked vegetables
- Creamed spinach
- Macaroni and cheese
- Mashed potatoes and gravy
Joint and Jaw Strengthening Diet
Certain foods have been shown to help strengthen joints and support overall joint health. Others have been shown to hinder good joint health and should be avoided (or at least reduced) whenever possible.
Foods that are good for repairing joints and overall joint health:
- Naturally occurring gelatin and hyaluronic acid, both of which have been shown to help strengthen joints
- Organ meats and red meats (in moderation), which help to increase joint-repairing nutrients in your body
- Saturated fats (in moderation), which may help strengthen joints. However, be aware that gaining weight is bad for joint health, so consume only small amounts of saturated fat.
Foods that you should reduce to protect the joints:
- Preservatives, especially MSG
- Starchy foods, especially wheat
- Sugar (!)
- Foods with a high content of salicylates (e.g., jellies, jams, juices)
Other Options for TMJ Treatment
If you have modified your diet to rest and then strengthen your TMJ but have not had any success alleviating your TMJ pain, contact Headache and TMJ Center of New Jersey for help. Our TMJ specialists offer an array of treatment options to help relieve your TMJ pain.
To schedule an appointment with a TMJ dentist, contact Headache and TMJ Center of New Jersey by calling (855) 865-3627.