If you have TMJ, jaw pain, jaw dysfunction, and damaged teeth can make it hard for you to eat a normal diet. This can have several significant impacts on your health if it’s not just an occasional occurrence like on Thanksgiving. Here are some tips for trying to manage these problems, but the best way to overcome them completely is to get TMJ treatment that will allow you to return to a normal diet.

athletic woman eating a healthy salad

Weight Loss

One of the most common side effects of TMJ is that you are unable to eat because your jaw won’t open, or eating becomes too painful or exhausting to do it often. This can lead to unhealthy weight loss. Although the average American can spare a few pounds, people with TMJ can become dangerously underweight.

To avoid weight loss, make your foods more calorie-intensive. Healthy fats like olive oil or butter can significantly increase your caloric intake to help you gain weight. Adding whey or ground seeds to your diet can also help increase your calories so you can gain weight. Ideally, adding protein is best, followed by fats, followed by alcohol and sugars, but to some extent calories are calories.

Work hard to find meals that you enjoy that are also healthy. Enjoying balanced meals is the best way to ensure you’re getting enough calories and staying healthy.

Weight Gain

Some people with TMJ have the opposite problem. Jaw pain, dysfunction, or tooth wear can make it hard to eat hard foods, which can lead to a diet composed mostly of soft, processed junk foods. Ice cream, cakes, and some fast food meals can be easy to eat with a sore jaw, but they are nutrient-poor and high in unhealthy fats and sugars.

If you experience weight gain after TMJ, try cutting down on prepared foods and making more of your meals yourself. Limit portion sizes and always emphasize nutrient rich foods.


Fresh fruits and vegetables are the most common source of fiber in our diet, so when TMJ cuts these out of your diet, it’s common to develop constipation. Try adding fiber with fruit nectars (these contain some fruit pulp as well as juice), and use soluble fiber supplements to help keep your digestive tract in healthy function.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Another problem with cutting fresh fruits and vegetables out of your diet is that you’re just not getting enough nutrients. Try to make sure you’re getting a good balance of fruits and vegetables, but also consider taking a multivitamin. Caution: some larger multivitamins may be hard to swallow if you have TMJ.

If you are tired of trying to just live with your TMJ in Columbia, SC, please call (803) 781-9090 for an appointment with a TMJ dentist at Smile Columbia Dentistry.