The causes of muscle soreness in TMJ patient’s jaws range from dehydration to poor desk posture to lack of exercise. And if you’re like a lot of other TMJ sufferers out there with jaw pain, chewing is also one of the main culprits.
Today you’re going to learn why you can never, ever chew food again.
We joke. You won’t have to eat applesauce or blend up all your food for straw consumption just yet. But for jaw pain, chewing needs to be effortless and not something that causes so much strain on the temporomandibular joint that you’re in agony hours later.
Jaw Pain, Chewing, And What To Avoid
If you’re currently experiencing jaw pain, chewing – or to be more accurate, the foods that you chew – needs to be taken into account at all times. It’s easy to go into a restaurant, order a juicy steak, and completely forget about how much effort it will take your jaw to chew that bad boy into pieces you can swallow.
Here are some foods that you need to either avoid or be incredibly leery of:
- Any meat that is tough to pull off the bone and/or chew
- The Willy Wonka network of candy. You know, taffy, jaw breakers, and more
- Gum: Although the gum you choose could be soft, the constant chewing motion throughout the day will leave your jaw hurting in the morning
- Any kind of nuts
- Chewy dried fruits
- Hard cereals, because Captain Crunch does more than just tear up the roof of your mouth
- Hard crackers
You can kind of see the theme here. Whatever foods are going to cause you a lot of effort through chewing are going to negatively impact your TMJ disorder.
Here’s how you can combat it though.
Chew This, Not That
We’ve already shown you what not to chew. It’s now much easier to figure out the things you should be munching down on. This includes:
- Healthy fruit and veggie shakes
- Soft fish
- Scrambled eggs
- Soft, fresh breads
One thing to remember is that when it comes to jaw pain, chewing (and the effort it takes) is something you probably already have a good feel for. So if you can handle a medium-rare steak, then go for it. But make sure you’re constantly aware of what your chewing threshold is. If you try to exceed it by gnawing on a candy apple the next time you visit a state fair, you’re going to be paying for it the next morning.
A simple treatment like watching what you eat is certainly better than taking pain medication or undergoing some sort of crazy surgery. You can feel better starting today. Just keep an eye on what you munch.