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Foods to Avoid When You Have a TMJ Disorder

Posted on 4/17/2017 by Dr. Ryan
An elderly woman suffering from severe TMD.
Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge that connects your upper and lower jaws. It is responsible for the movement of your lower jaw - opening and closing your mouth, chewing, moving your jaw from side to side.

Issues with your TMJ (TMJ disorder or TMD) can lead to significant pain when you chew, greatly interfering with your ability to eat properly. Some foods are more painful to eat than others. Here are a few foods to avoid with TMJ disorder.

Hard, Crunchy Food

Food that is hard and crunchy requires extra force to bite down on and chew. This extra force can cause irritation to an already irritated and inflamed joint. Foods such as hard, crusty breads, hard pretzels, chips, raw vegetables (such as carrots), and hard candies should all be avoided. You should also abstain from chewing on ice cubes.

Chewy Foods

Chewy foods, as suggested by the adjective, require more chewing than most other foods. Unnecessary chewing makes your sore jaw tired, and agitates the joint, leading to pain. Tough cuts of meat, chewy breads (such as pizza crust), chewing gum and certain candies are all culprits.

Sticky Foods

Sticky foods, by their very nature, stick to your teeth, and hold your jaws together. With a sore jaw, it can be difficult to force your mouth open again and again to fight with the texture of your food, as you have to work extra hard to separate your teeth. Avoiding foods such as taffy and caramels can help.

Large Food
Food that is large forces you to open up your mouth wider than necessary, and often wider than is comfortable, which can cause a significant amount of pain. Avoid whole fruits, corn on the cob, large sandwiches and burgers, and large cuts of meat.

It may seem like there is nothing that you can eat when you look at the list of what you should avoid, there is still plenty you can eat, and things you can do to make your food more manageable.

Cut large foods into bite sized pieces. Cook vegetables so that they are softer. And if you need more information on what you can eat and what should be avoided, be sure to contact our office today.


Robert Cory Ryan, DDS, MD
Mountain Oral Surgery
& Dental Implant Center

7991 Vance Drive, Suite A
Arvada CO 80003
p: (303) 422-2990

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