With every new year comes a list of things you want to do to better your life. Whether it is exercising more or eating healthier options, it is important to set goals and parameters to follow. Just as you plan your meals to lose weight and become healthier, you should also be mindful of how to overcome your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder (TMD) symptoms. If you suffer from TMD, here are some four tips to follow throughout this year–whether you are eating at home alone or attending an upcoming party. 

Skip crunchy and chewy foods

Throughout the year you will be tempted to munch on crunchy and chewy foods, especially during sporting events or at parties. As much as these foods taste great, if you suffer from TMD you will have to not indulge. Most crunchy foods can place a strain on your jaw. These foods can include hard, crusty breads or chewy meats and vegetables.

Chewy foods can place significant strain on your jaw, worsening your TMD pain.This is often because chewy foods are sweet and enjoyable treats that are hard to avoid. When you want to chew gum, caramel or gummy candy, try to fight the urge to avoid TMJ pain.

Attempt to take smaller bites

Don’t worry, we all get excited for this delicious food. However, it is important to remain patient and take your time. Large foods require opening your mouth wide, which can overextend the jaw and cause pain if you suffer from TMD. Even large sandwiches can overextend the jaw. Try using a fork and knife to cut food into smaller pieces that are easier to eat and won’t cause added TMJ pain.

Add on those vegetables

Say, “yes” to more vegetables! However, it is important to choose wisely when deciding which vegetables to eat. For example, try to avoid raw carrots and celery. This is because they are harder and require more chewing. This can lead to a sore jaw. On the other hand, though, if the carrots are cooked, then they are soft enough to not hurt your jaw.

At a party, bring soft food 

When visiting family this season, try doing your part in bringing soft foods to the holiday party. This will add to the options for what you can eat. In addition to this, make sure those who are hosting events know of your need for a soft diet. Most people want to know ahead of time and will make sure to have something available. They don’t want you to miss out on wonderful food.

If you have any questions about what you can eat and what you should avoid, contact Dr. Patel at Craniofacial Pain & Dental Sleep Center of Georgia for TMD tips.