Foods to Avoid When Your Jaw Hurts

Foods to Avoid When Your Jaw Hurts

When your jaw hurts, it can make your day to day life difficult. Suddenly, simple things, like eating and speaking, become painful, arduous tasks. Jaw pain is often the result of problems with your temporomandibular joint, or TMJ.

The hinge that holds your upper and lower jaws together and is responsible for you being able to open and close your mouth, chew, and talk, becomes inflamed.

While this can happen for a number of different reasons, certain activities exacerbate the symptoms. One such thing is the food you eat. Eating a nutritious diet is important, but when your jaw hurts, there are certain foods you should avoid.


Hard, crunchy foods force your jaw to exert excessive force in order to bite and chew them, causing you to irritate an already inflamed joint. These foods include raw vegetables, crusty breads, chips (corn and potato), and hard candies. You should also avoid chewing on ice.


While it is necessary to chew any type of food you eat, certain foods require you to chew more than others. All the extra, unnecessary, chewing exhausts the TMJ, which then leads to pain. Stay away chewing gum, certain candies, pizza crust (and other chewy breads), and tough cuts of meat.


Sticky foods hold your teeth together, and make it difficult to open your mouth back up to continue chewing. If you have jaw pain, opening your mouth is just as difficult as closing it and biting down. Sticky foods force your TMJ to work harder to separate your teeth. Foods such as taffy and caramels should be avoided.


Jaw pain makes it difficult for you to open your mouth. If you have to open it wider than normal, in order to bite down on larger foods, you may experience spasms of pain. For this reason, you should avoid large sandwiches, whole fruit (such as apples or pears) or vegetables (corn on the cob), and large cuts of meat.

While the list of foods to avoid seems long, there are still plenty of foods you can enjoy. Cut large foods into manageable pieces. Make sure vegetables are cooked to a softer consistency. For more information on a diet suitable for dealing with jaw pain, be sure to contact our office.

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