If you are struggling with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, you may have discovered that eating presents new and uncomfortable challenges. The crisp apples or club sandwiches you used to enjoy may now send you into a fit of jaw pain and discomfort.
Cutting foods into small, bite-sized pieces and chewing very slowly can help reduce some of the discomfort associated with TMJ problems. But it’s not just how you eat that matters. What you eat is crucial to minimizing pain while still ensuring your body gets the nutrients it needs.
Read on as Dr. Ivan Stein at the Headache & TMJ Center of New Jersey shares the best foods to eat when TMJ pain flares up.
Foods That Won’t Hurt Your TMJ
Eggs are always a safe bet. You can scramble or hard boil them, or mix them into a quiche with soft vegetables for a well-balanced meal. Cooked, chopped chicken and pork are also good sources of protein. If you enjoy red meat, ground beef is easier to eat than steak. Adding broths, sauces or gravies can help make poultry or meats moister and more tender.
For vegetarians, tofu is soft and easy to eat. Ensure and similar shakes are also convenient options to get protein into your diet.
Dairy products like yogurt and soft cheese are easy on the jaw and full of calcium and other nutrients. Milkshakes are another tasty treat.
Starches like mashed potatoes, pasta and polenta are wise choices. Oatmeal and muffins should not irritate your TMJ pain, as long as there are no added nuts or other crunchy toppings.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a balanced diet. Soft fruits like bananas are an excellent option. Smoothies are another good way to get fruit into your daily diet. You can also look for applesauce and canned fruits like pears, peaches or mandarin oranges.
With vegetables, it helps to peel and cook them for a softer texture; try carrots, peas, green beans and squash. You may want to try steaming or roasting vegetables with your favorite spices.
Foods to Avoid
In addition to crunchy, chewy or tough foods, make sure to avoid anything that requires you to open your mouth very wide. Eating whole apples, sandwiches, burgers and corn on the cob can badly strain your sensitive jaw.
Contact Our Team Today
If you have questions about what to eat in the midst of a TMJ flareup, do not hesitate to reach out to our team. We can discuss diet as well as other measures to minimize your pain and discomfort. Call or email us today.