TMD is a painful condition that can worsen when eating the wrong foods. As you know, the holidays are just around the corner and that often means lots of different food! Many times this is the time of year where you will eat more food than you normally eat during the year—and it is often food that you don’t typically eat other times. There is a list of diet changes that might help improve your TMD symptoms, so let’s take a look at how to protect your jaw this Thanksgiving:

Say “No” to Crunchy and Chewy

Let’s face it; there might be a lot of crunchy and chewy foods to choose from at the dinner table, but don’t do it. Many crunchy foods, such as hard, crusty breads and crackers, can put a lot of strain on a person’s jaw. Additionally, chewy can also worsen TMD pain. This is because chewy foods tend to be sweet, enjoyable treats that might be hard to avoid. While it may be difficult to pass on gum, caramel and gummy candy, it might be a sacrifice you need to take for improved TMJ health this season.

Smaller is Better

You might be tempted to eating everything in sight without chewing it all the way through, but be patient. Large foods that require opening the mouth wide such as corn-on-the-cob and whole apples can overextend the jaw and ultimately cause pain for a TMD sufferer. Even large sandwiches and burgers can overextend the jaw. Instead, try using a fork and knife to cut your food into smaller pieces that are easier to eat.

Don’t Skip the Veggies

That’s right! When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner make sure to say “Yes” to vegetables. However, make sure you choose wisely what veggies you eat. For instance, do avoid carrots because they are harder and can hurt your jaw. On the other hand, if the carrots are cooked, then they are soft enough to not hurt your jaw.

When something in your body is causing pain when it moves, it is best to minimize the movement of that body part. When it comes to jaw pain, it is not that easy to do since you have to eat, and speak. However, you can limit the amount of movement your jaw makes so you are not using the muscles that are causing your pain by choosing foods that do not require a lot of chewing, while also avoiding habits that make the muscles work.

Contact Craniofacial Pain and Dental Sleep Center of Georgia for more information on foods to avoid in order to protect yourself from TMD pain.