If you experience migraines frequently, you know exactly how painful they are. If there is anything you can do to avoid them, you’re likely doing them. One thing that can trigger a migraine is actually the food you eat. However, it’s not just the food you consume, but when you eat it. At Smile Columbia, we want to help our patients live headache-free with our help. First, learn what foods trigger headaches and then learn how TMJ treatment might help stop your migraines for good.


Caffeine is a double-edged sword. It can sometimes help relieve a headache but it can also cause headaches. When you consume caffeine daily and then go one day where you drink even just 80 mg less than usual, it can trigger a migraine. Your body becomes dependent on the caffeine and when it’s abruptly removed from your life, your body goes through withdrawal.

Aged Meats and Cheeses

The nitrates in aged cheese and meats can trigger migraines. In addition, aged meats and cheeses are usually quite salty which can dehydrate you – another common trigger of headaches.


There are a lot of reasons why alcohol might trigger a headache for you. To start, alcohol causes you to become dehydrated. If you don’t drink enough water alongside your alcoholic beverage, or you drink too much alcohol, you’ll likely wake up with a hangover and one killer headache. The migraine the next day is also a symptom of withdrawal.


Monosodium glutamate, also known as MSG is another trigger for migraines. MSG is commonly found in Asian foods, specifically Chinese fast food. MSG is an excitatory neurotransmitter that will trigger migraines in some people.

Citrus Fruits

Fruits that are high in acid don’t just cause gastric irritation but can also trigger migraines. Pay attention to your consumption of citrus to see if it triggers a migraine.

Spicy Foods

The most common trigger of migraines are chili peppers. Spicy foods react on TRP receptors which lower the body’s threshold for triggering a migraine. If you regularly experience a migraine following a spicy meal, it’s likely the cause.


If you consume foods or drinks that contain aspartame – a common sugar alternative – and experience a migraine, the fake sugar is likely the cause. Stay away from diet sodas and drinks to play it safe.

Headache Treatment in Columbia, SC

If you don’t think your frequent migraines are related to the foods you consume, TMJ might be the underlying cause. Before you completely change your diet, why not visit our TMJ dentist in Columbia for a consultation? Dr. Hahn will examine your mouth to see if you have TMJ. If you do, he will map out a treatment plan to provide you with headache pain relief and prevention for the rest of your life. Contact our dental office at (803) 781-9090 today to schedule an appointment.