With more than 3 million U.S. cases per year, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction is a common yet painful disorder. It can be difficult to understand what is safe to eat versus what will cause your jaw more pain! TMJ is treatable, but lifestyle changes are definitely necessary and recommended in order to live a pain-free life! Let’s take a look at some examples!

Gum or mints?

For those suffering from TMJ, mints are definitely the preferred breath-freshener! TMJ is uncomfortable, painful, and annoying! Oftentimes when you are chewing, your jaw will click or lock. This is both scary and painful. When choosing between mints or gum, understand the difference in chewing! When chewing gum, your jaw is constantly in motion which results in soreness and irritation. 

Mints, however, do just the opposite! While still keeping your breath minty fresh, they offer your jaw a break! By simply letting the mint dissolve in your mouth, you are allowing your jaw to rest. If you’re one to chew on hard mints, choose a minty strip instead! This strip is offered in many different flavors and dissolves the instant it hits your tongue. Easy and safe for TMJ!

Peanut brittle or chocolate?

The answer to this one might be obvious, but it’s important to note! Peanut brittle is excruciatingly difficult to chew, and not just for those with TMJ! With a hard and sticky consistency, your jaw can become inflamed and sore beyond belief. This hard consistency inflicts a huge impact on your teeth and jaw. The constant chewing and cracking of the peanut brittle will add stress to your jaw, worsening your TMJ. 

Choose a soft chocolate bar instead! Chocolate melts in your mouth with ease, and tastes amazing! If you’re a fan of peanuts or peanut butter candy, perhaps a peanut butter chocolate bar will do the trick! Just because you have TMJ, doesn’t mean you have to eliminate all of your favorite foods, just adjust your diet to more jaw-friendly items! 

Little changes make a big difference

You may find this article silly, but many people overlook the dangers of everyday foods when they have TMJ! Making little changes in your day-to-day lifestyle will definitely improve your pain levels. Opt for a cup of ice cream instead of a cone, or a yummy pot of hamburger helper instead of a giant hamburger. It’s these little changes that will help you in the long run!

Contact Dr. Sara at AZ Sleep & TMJ Solutions in Scottsdale to learn more about how adjusting your diet can improve your TMJ symptoms!