Everyone has habits, good and bad. Unfortunately, some of those bad habits can result in pain if you’re suffering from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. Things that you’re doing unconsciously could be negatively affecting your health and quality of life.

Foods to Avoid

As delicious as some of these crunchy, chewy or hard foods can be, you may have to bypass them. Some foods that exacerbate TMJ pain include:

  • Popcorn
  • Chips
  • Cookies
  • Crackers  
  • Taffy
  • Caramels
  • Other hard or chewy candies 
  • Hard fruits like apples
  • Gum
  • Raw carrots
  • Raw celery
  • Corn on the cob

Additionally, some foods high in fat have properties known to increase muscle inflammation which in turn may increase your pain. Although they aren’t necessarily hard to chew, try to avoid:

  • Excessive full-fat dairy products (opt for low-fat)
  • Red meat
  • Pastries
  • Fried foods

Nail biting

Biting your nails is an unsanitary habit that may lead to sickness. It also positions the jaw at a strange angle that can cause an immense amount of pain for those with TMJ. But, how do you stop?

  • Use special nail biting deterrent polish.
  • Keep your nails manicured.
  • Ask your friends and family to hold you accountable.
  • Cover nails with tape or bandages until you’ve quit the habit.
  • Manage your stress. High stress can trigger some people to bite their nails. If that’s you, take steps like practicing yoga, sleeping more, talking to someone or doing breathing exercises (or whatever works for you) to reduce the stress in your life.

Jaw Clenching

Just like with biting nails, jaw clenching can occur because of high stress without you even realizing it. If you find yourself clenching your jaws, take steps to reduce your stress. If that doesn’t alleviate the issue, talk to us about getting fitted for a mouthguard. 

TMJ & Sleep Solutions of Alabama is here for you for any TMJ or obstructive sleep apnea needs. We understand how either of these conditions can lower the quality of your everyday life, and it’s our passion to help people like you. Click below to contact us!