Lingering jaw pain can damper even the brightest spirits. Whether you experience sharp twinges when you yawn or a chronic dull throb throughout the day, the pain associated with TMJ disorder and bruxism (teeth grinding) inhibits your ability to speak and eat normally and can place you in a decidedly negative frame of mind. Your dentist can help treat the disorder using a custom-fitted mouthpiece that allows your jaw muscles to rest and protects your teeth. However, making the right choices regarding what foods you eat and how you eat them can further reduce jaw pain.
Think back to the last time you took a bite of your favorite double cheeseburger or popped a piece of California roll into your mouth. If you suffer from TMJ disorder, that big bite was probably accompanied by an unsettling popping or cracking sound in your jaw. That’s our body’s way of telling you to take smaller bites. Overextending the jaw to make room for large bites of food places excessive strain on already overtaxed joints. To avoid this problem, cut your bites into smaller pieces and chew using both sides of the mouth. As for those big burgers, if you can’t bring yourself to eat one with a knife and fork, reserve them for special occasions.
Keep It Soft, Not Bland
Oatmeal, yogurt, applesauce, mashed potatoes. They don’t inspire much excitement, but their soft consistency does help overstressed jaw muscles relax. To keep the joy of eating intact, try, making over your favorite recipes using ingredients that are easier to chew, such as:
- Substitute ground beef, pork, and chicken for whole cuts. Experiment with exotic variations on meatballs and loaves, like sesame ginger chicken meatballs or a mushroom-Swiss meatloaf.
- You’ll need to avoid crunchy raw veggies, like carrots and bell peppers, so try sautéing them instead. The softer texture will be kinder to your jaw and cooking actually enhances the flavor of most vegetables (and fruits!).
About Mansfield Dental Associates:
At Mansfield Dental Associates, Dr. Blair Jones and Dr. Seth Harris share the same vision and philosophy when it comes to patient care. We provide thorough, compassionate preventive dental services in addition to effective treatments for teeth grinding and TMJ pain. Contact our Mansfield, TX dentist office at 817-473-6227 to schedule your next appointment.