One thing that isn’t a secret is how painful it can be to suffer from Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or TMJ. On a day to day basis, you might experience the most common symptoms. When eating food, your jaw’s mobility may be restricted, and it might make clicking noises accompanied by painful spasms. Worse, because symptoms can range broadly, although there are many treatment options available, you might feel disheartened to seek treatment at all. Just like with many things, changing your diet can help temper the severity of symptoms for TMJ.
The relationship between nutrition and your jaw is an important one, so below are four secrets to make your diet work for you and your TMJ symptoms.
Avoid “Tough” Food
This first diet secret is simple: when you sprain your ankle or wrist, you avoid using it for the weeks it takes to heal. The same goes for your jaw. High-impact foods, such as, nuts, hard bread, jawbreakers, or potato chips, should be avoided to ensure your jaw has time to heal. A basic rule of thumb should be measuring your jaw’s rate of mobility. If a food requires you to fully open your mouth, you should stop eating it to prevent any further damage.
No Inflammatory Foods
Simple carbohydrates, processed foods, sugars, and alcohol are not just bad for your teeth. They can be bad for your jaw, as well. That’s because these foods are well known to produce a low-grade inflammatory response in the body. Inflammation is the immune system’s response to injury and infection, and while it can be useful to section off parts of the body to avoid the spread of infection, it can also significantly hinder the healing process. When it lasts for a long time, it can cause other damage as well. Lowering inflammation present in the body can help blood flow to damaged joints and nerves and begin the process of healing.
Eat More Anti-inflammatory Foods
Foods such as carbohydrates encourage inflammation, but there are also foods that do the opposite. Called anti-inflammatory foods, eating foods high in Omega-3, such as salmon and trout, or other foods which are known to suppress inflammation, like, blueberries, turmeric, and ginger will help to lower pain in the body. Simple eating a balanced diet filled with vegetables and fruits can go a long way to eventually alleviating jaw pain.
Listen to Your Body
More important than any other advice someone could give you about diet is simply listening to your body. Pay attention to how certain foods make your jaw feel, take notes, and eliminate those foods when you’re certain they’re having a negative effect.
Sometimes however, diet isn’t enough. If you’ve been experiencing TMJ symptoms for awhile, it may be time to seek professional treatment. Scheduling an appointment with your dentist can go a long way in alleviating your TMJ pain. After a consultation, your dentist can recommend several drug-free treatment options that can help you to avoid pain in the future.
To learn how TMJ treatment can reduce or eliminate your jaw pain, please call (803) 781-9090 or email Smile Columbia Dentistry in Columbia, SC.