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If you find it difficult to open your mouth completely, experience discomfort when chewing food, and your jaw locks often, you are likely suffering from TMJ disorder and your daily diet can make your condition severe. The main causes of the temporomandibular joint disorder are stress, misaligned teeth, and inflammatory musculoskeletal disorders but it is very important that you know the symptoms of this dysfunction.

Some of the symptoms of TMJ disorder include:

  • Swelling of the jaw
  • Tooth grinding
  • Jaw popping
  • Locked jaw
  • Frequent headaches
  • Sharp pain when chewing food
  • Inflamed nerves
  • Painful yawning
  • Tenderness in jaw muscles
  • Ear ache and neck pain

These symptoms can also occur in other medical conditions and so it is important to consult a dentist who can accurately diagnose your TMJ symptoms. A complete dental check-up that is done using X-rays, CT scans and MRI ensures an accurate diagnosis which is essential to creating an effective treatment plan. If you encounter any of the signs or symptoms mentioned above, it is best to visit a dentist for an early diagnosis and timely TMJ treatment. Poor posture, lack of sleep, and hard foods can worsen your existing TMJ disorder. Visiting a dentist will help you determine the root cause of your problem and you will also be given certain corrective measures to alleviate the pain and discomfort.

Diet modification also plays a major role in providing faster relief so if you follow these dietary guidelines, you will experience better outcomes:

1. Foods to Avoid

If you are suffering from TMJ disorder, the top 5 foods that you should avoid in your daily diet include:

  • Chewy foods that can make your jaw work harder like candy, nuts, bread, bagels, and steak.
  • Inflammatory foods that can aggravate your joint pain like alcohol, tobacco, salt, sugar, processed foods, corn oil and carbohydrates.
  • Foods rich in salicylates like juices, hot peppers, dairy, and olives that can worsen TMJ disorder in those who are allergic to salicylates.  

2. Food to Include in Your Diet for Reduced Pain

If you are suffering from TMJ disorder, your daily diet needs to be rich in anti-inflammatory foods like fish such as mackerel and salmon, plant foods like broccoli, berries and leafy greens. You also need to increase your intake of foods that positively impact joint health and are rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium and selenium.

3. How to Eat When the Pain Flares Up

In order to reduce the pain radiating from your TMJ, you should increase your intake of fluids like soups, stews and smoothies. When you are eating solid foods, you must take small bites to limit the opening of the jaw, chew slowly, use sauces or gravies to soften the food, peel the skin of fruits and vegetables before consuming them and chop whole foods into bite-size pieces.  

4. Eating Soft Foods for Pain Relief

Consuming a soft diet that contains scrambled eggs, yogurt, fruits, quinoa, and well-cooked vegetables will improve nutrition and offer relief from TMJ pain. You can also consume soft-cooked foods like fish sticks, meatballs, chicken, tuna, green beans, legumes, kale, squash and spinach. While this cannot be a permanent fix, following a soft food diet will help relax the jaw muscles and accelerate the healing process.

5. Eating Right for Enhanced Jaw Health

While a soft food diet works to heal your TMJ disorder, you can consider adding a few foods that are proven to enhance the health of your temporomandibular joint. These foods include fatty fish, ginger, eggplant, berries, grapes, bone broth and vegetable soup. Adding olive oil wherever you can and consuming dietary Vitamin D will work to reduce the pain and joint inflammation.

Finally, avoid stress because it has a negative impact on your temporomandibular joint and contributes to pain and discomfort. The key to an effective TMJ treatment and lasting relief is an early diagnosis that determines the root cause of the problem and helps confirm the next best treatment approach.

At Joshua Hong DDS, patients can be confident of receiving the right TMJ treatment in Goodyear. Contact us today to experience a dramatic improvement in your painful condition and get treated by the best dentist in Goodyear.