Welcome Spring! While we all might be excited for spring weather and cookouts, it is also extremely important to watch what you eat when you suffer from temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). Yes, that triple cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, and bacon sounds delicious, but it may cause you more pain than you need or want. Stacking a burger that high requires your jaws to work out of their normal pattern, which can cause pain. To help you enjoy this spring season and cookouts, here are some foods you should be avoiding:

Crunchy and Chewy Foods

When you reach for that hard, crusty bread or crackers, think again. These foods can put a lot of strain on your jaw, especially if genetically you have issues with your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Additionally, some raw fruits and vegetables, like carrots and apples, can take a toll on a person’s jaw because of the hard, crunchy texture.

Crunchy is not the only problem, though—chewy is too. The worst part about chewy foods is that they tend to be sweet, enjoyable treats that can be hard to avoid. While it might be difficult to say no to gum, caramel or gummy worms and bears, your TMJ will thank you in the long run when you are not wincing in pain.

Fatty and Large Foods

Saturated fat has been shown to increase inflammation in the body, which can lead to more TMJ pain. Because of this, it is important to be mindful of the fat content you consume. To protect your TMJ it is best to stick to low fat or reduced fat foods and lean protein.

On the other hand, large foods, as mentioned earlier, that require opening the mouth wide such as triple cheeseburgers, corn-on-the-cob and whole apples can overextend the jaw and ultimately cause pain for a TMD sufferer. Even large sandwiches can overextend the jaw. Instead of these foods, try using a fork and knife to cut the food into smaller pieces.

If you suffer from TMD, please contact Craniofacial Pain & Dental Sleep Center of Georgia for more information on what you should and should not be eating this spring and even summer season! We want you to enjoy those cookouts, too, which is why it is important to gain a better understanding of what to eat to help prevent jaw pain.