Your temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is the hinge at which your upper and lower jaws meet. It allows you to open your mouth wide and move your lower jaw from side to side. It also enables you to eat and speak.

When the joint becomes inflamed and irritated, an issue known as temporomandibular disorder (TMD), these abilities are affected, and eating certain foods can make it worse, so it is best to avoid them to avoid further pain.

Hard/Crunchy Foods

Hard and/or crunchy foods require extra force and chewing to fully breakdown. These foods include:

• Popcorn.
• Chips.
• Hard candies.
• Hard pretzels.
• Crusty breads such as hard rolls or baguettes.
• Carrots.

Chewy Foods

Chewy or sticky foods require a lot more chewing than other foods. All of this extra, unnecessary, motion can further irritate an already irritated and inflamed joint. Stay away from these types of foods:

• Taffy.
• Caramel (including soft caramels and caramel apples).
• Chewing gum.
• Tougher cuts of meats.
• Lobster.

Fatty Foods

Foods high in saturated fats can worsen inflammation and includes:

• Fried foods.
• Creamy sauces.
• Red meats.

Big Foods

Large foods require you to open your mouth wide, which can cause your joint to hurt. This includes foods such as:

• Large sandwiches.
• Burgers.
• Whole fruits.

What Can You Eat?

Instead of eating the above foods, there are plenty of other foods you can enjoy. Choose softer foods, like soft breads, mashed potatoes and cooked vegetables (preferably steamed, grilled or sautéed). Choose lean cuts of white meats, such as turkey, chicken and fish. Make larger foods manageable by cutting them into easy to handle pieces.

Staying away from certain foods can stop your TMD symptoms from getting worse. But you should also contact our office to learn what you can do to fix the problem for good.