Foods that make TMJ worse

Foods to Avoid with TMJ

Do you have TMJ pain? This article may prove beneficial for you because it lists foods to avoid if you have jaw joint pains. This disorder is a serious condition that affects the joints in your jaw. This causes patients great discomfort and pain, which is why managing it is incredibly important. Part of managing TMJ is watching your diet. There are certain foods to avoid that make TMJ worse by placing more pressure upon the jaw joint and increases your discomfort.

For this reason, Dr. James Fondriest shares which foods TMJ disorder patients should avoid.

Foods to Avoid with TMJ

  • Crunchy foods. Overly crunchy food items place a lot of added pressure to the TM joint. Eating popcorn, chips, carrots, apples, and other crunchy foods don’t bode well for TMJ disorder sufferers. Instead, we suggest eating soft foods like ripe fruits and vegetables, mashed potatoes, and pastas. These provide nutritional value and won’t cause you any additional pain.
  • Chewy foods. Much like crunchy foods, eating chewy foods also agitates the TM joint. While chewy foods won’t require as much downward force, the excessive motion tends to cause jaw pain. Therefore, avoid foods like taffy, chewing gum, and soft caramel chews or it make your TMJ pain worse . Eating bananas, fish, and yogurt usually work better.
  • Fatty foods. Most foods high in fat typically cause tissue inflammation throughout the body. Which is why a diet heavy in red meats, fried foods, and rich sauces usually worsens TMJ disorder symptoms. If you choose to eat similar food items, try to limit the amount you consume per week.
  • Large bites. While this doesn’t directly correlate with food, it’s an important tidbit of information. On days when TMD pain is rather high, some patients can’t open their mouths more than a few inches. Thus, taking large bites is nearly impossible. To avoid irritating your TM joint, start cutting your food into smaller bites. This way your mouth won’t have to open too far and you will experience less pain. Foods that typically require opening the jaw excessively include corn, apples, and large fruits.

What TMJ symptoms get worse when you don’t avoid these foods?

The telltale symptoms of TMJ: 

  • Headaches
  • Jaw Pain and jaw muscle pain
  • Clicking/Popping in Jaw Joints
  • Difficulty Chewing
  • Inability to Bite All the Way Down
  • Limited Mouth Opening
  • Uncomfortable Bite
  • Changing Bite
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Worn-Down Teeth
  • Neck Pain

What Are My Other Treatment Options with TMJ? 

Dr. Fondriest offers multiple treatment options for individuals who are suffering from TMJ disorder. First, he will diagnose the root cause of your jaw pain. This is done through a comprehensive exam.

If you’ve suffered an injury to your jaw or chin, for instance, recovering from tmj issues will be top priority. We strive to use conservative treatments that are proven to be effective. Throughout your temporomandibular joint disorder treatment, our team will work to ensure that you experience restored comfort and jawbone function.

Depending on the severity of your symptoms, Dr. Fondriest may recommend a custom night guard or dental restorations. The night guard properly aligns your jawbone while ensuring that your teeth cannot come into contact while you sleep. This aids in preventing teeth grinding at night. Dental restorations improve teeth alignment (occlusion), which can aid in lowering or preventing TMJ symptoms. Malocclusion has been shown to cause occasional headaches.

Other Tips for Managing Your TMJ Symptoms

  • Moist Heat: A heat pack or hot towel can temporarily improve function while reducing pain related to TMJ disorder. Be careful not to accidentally burn yourself.
  • Ice: Ice is a great way to lower inflammation while numbing pain. Place an ice pack in a clean cloth and rest it near your jaw for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Over-the-counter pain medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen can provide temporary relief from jaw pain. Dr. Fondriest can prescribe a wide range of medications, depending on your needs and the severity of your TMJ disorder.
  • Relaxation techniques: Deep breathing exercises and guided imagery can be helpful in helping patients cope with jaw discomfort. Some patients may benefit from yoga, massages, meditation, or acupuncture.
  • Jaw exercises: Gentle jaw exercises can help your jawbone regain mobility. These simple exercises can also aid in healing. Patients should only use exercises that have been recommended by a healthcare professional. 
  • Sleeping position: How you position your body when sleeping can have an impact on your TMJ symptoms are aggravated. Consult with Dr. Fondriest to determine which sleeping positions can lower your TMJ symptoms. Making a concerted effort to relax your lips and jaw before going to sleep can also help.

Learn more about the foods to avoid with TMJ

By working with us, you will have the benefit of working with an esteemed dentist who has extensive training in diagnosing and treating TMJ disorder. Dr. Fondriest studied at the world-renowned L. D. Pankey Institute Key Biscayne, Florida, where he now works as a senior faculty member. The Pankey Institute specializes in the treatment of TMJ disorders.

If you have TMJ and would like more tips and tricks to find relief, talk to Dr. Fondriest. He can explain which foods to avoid with TMJ. He will also explain habits that can worsen the disorder. To schedule an appointment with our practice, call (847) 234-0517. Also, visit our website for services, testimonials, and before and after gallery. 

Our practice serves the Chicago metropolitan area including the North Shore and Northwest suburbs