People suffering from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, or TMD, may experience a range of symptoms affecting the jaw and mouth. Frequent jaw pain, headaches and clenching or grinding of the teeth are all common symptoms of TMD. Others may notice a clicking sound like chewing or a ringing in the ears. If you think you might have TMD, monitoring your eating habits can help. Eating soft foods that are cut or broken up into small pieces can help avoid putting stress on the hinged joint that allows your jaw to open and close. North Dallas dentist Dr. Hampton offers the following nutrition tips to help prevent or alleviate TMD symptoms.
Foods to Eat for TMJ Disorder
The following soft foods can help you avoid opening your jaw too wide and putting extra tension on your jaw:
- Mashed potatoes
- Soft cheeses like cottage cheese
- Steamed vegetables
- Fruit smoothies or juices
- Soft fruits like bananas
- Scrambled eggs
- Oatmeal and other soft grains
Foods to Avoid When You Have TMJ Disorder
Avoid eating foods that can strain your TMJ or are hard to chew, including:
- Chewy or sticky foods, such as chewy candy and caramel apples
- Crunchy or hard foods such as raw carrots and apples
- Tough meats, such as steak
- Crunchy cereals
- Hard bread
Additionally, the repeated jaw motion required to chew gum can increase TMD pain. It’s also recommended you avoid consuming sugar, caffeine or alcohol, which can cause increased tension and strain on the jaw muscles. These items can also aggravate teeth grinding or clenching, in turn increasing TMD pain.
Additional Tips for TMJ Disorder
Research shows there are several factors that can contribute to TMJ disorder, including stress. For example, some individuals grind their teeth when under a lot of stress. If this sounds familiar, try engaging in relaxing activities that keep your stress levels low. Simple yet effective ways to de-stress include exercising, taking warm baths and getting a massage. Talking to a friend or family member when you are stressed can also help prevent or reduce common TMD symptoms such as teeth grinding and headaches.
TMJ Treatment with Dr. Hampton
If your TMJ disorder symptoms do not go away, Dr. Hampton can help. He can recommend one of several TMJ treatment options in North Dallas, depending on the severity of your symptoms. For mild jaw discomfort, Dr. Hampton may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers. For more severe pain, prescription pain relievers may be a better option.
Many patients with TMJ disorder may benefit from wearing a bite guard at night. This prevents teeth grinding or clenching at night, which can be hard to control while sleeping. Physical therapy such as ultrasound therapy, and exercises to strengthen and stretch jaw muscles can also alleviate pain and keep your jaw strong.
In more serious cases, a surgical or medical procedure may be the best option to treat TMJ disorder. Dr. Hampton offers medical procedures that flush out debris, toxins or other substances that may be contributing to TMJ disorder. He also offers injections such as Botox to relax jaw muscles and minimize jaw pain.
To find out more about the TMJ disorder treatments Dr. Hampton offers, schedule an appointment today. Please contact The Hamptons Family & Cosmetic Dentistry by calling (972) 395-9292.