TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder can play havoc with a healthy diet. Jaw, tooth and stomach problems can compound the misery of TMJ disorder. Here are the best foods to help reduce TMJ symptoms, and help the body heal.
What is TMJ Disorder?
TMJ disorder often arises from stress and anxiety, and manifests physical symptoms such as muscle tension, neck pain, ear itch or ache, false sinusitis, and tooth and gum problems due to grinding or clenching the teeth. Please read:
- TMJ Disorder: Easy Self-Test for TMJ
- TMJ Disorder: Basic Anatomy of the Jaw Joint
- Signs that You Clench or Grind Your Teeth at Night
TMJ and Eating Disorders
Many people with TMJ disorder have symptoms such as jaw pain and stiffness, sensitive teeth, gum inflammation, difficulty swallowing, and stomach or digestive problems. It’s important to eat properly and try to maintain a healthy diet, even when TMJ symptoms are at their worst.
Eating well with TMJ disorder isn’t always easy. Hot and cold cause painful reactions in the teeth. Hard foods may be impossible to chew. Soft foods are fine for a while, but a diet of too much soft food can keep a person close to the porcelain throne.
TMJ Disorder: The Importance of Antioxidants
Foods high in antioxidants can help fortify the immune system, combat stress and fatigue, and minimize cellular damage, to help the body heal. A variety of foods can supply valuable antioxidants to the body, and brightly-colored foods such as tomatoes, strawberries and leafy green vegetables are especially beneficial.
TMJ Disorder: Foods to Avoid
Avoid any food that can strain the jaw and temporomandibular joint. These include crusty bread, whole apples, corn on the cob, nuts and most cuts of steak. Chewing gum is an absolute no-no, and lozenges aren’t recommended, due to the sucking strain on the jaw and stress on the temporomandibular joint.
Sweets or snacks high in sugar are also high on the list of foods to avoid for a number of reasons. Sugar can cause enormous pain to sensitive teeth, and the sugar rush causes a) muscle tension and hyperactivity and b) an ensuing crash or low mood swing.
Caffeine is a definite stressor for TMJ disorder because it hypes up the metabolism and can intensify tension especially in the jaw area. A little caffeine is beneficial to health, but too much caffeine can cause headaches, nausea and intensify symptoms of TMJ disorder. Tea, including green tea, is high in caffeine, as is coffee, chocolate, and some natural herbs such as guarana and yerba mate. Next Page