Eating an Inflammatory Diet Can Contribute to TMJD Pain

Eating an Inflammatory Diet Can Contribute to TMJD Pain

Have you been diagnosed with TMJD? If so, Dr. Korous has probably told you about ways to help reduce painful inflammation in your jaw joints, such as taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen and drinking a lot of water to flush inflammation out of your joint. She also probably mentioned that you should try to eat a healthy diet, too, to lower your inflammation levels. But, how does eating healthy help reduce inflammation and benefit your TMJ joints?

What Is Inflammation?

Inflammation is the body’s natural defense against damage, and damage can be from illness, injury or stress. When you have TMJD, your TMJ joints found in your jaw become stressed from wear and tear from grinding and clenching your teeth. In response to this stress, your body kick-starts inflammation to as a defense mechanism and a signal to the body to begin the healing process.

So, it sounds like inflammation is a good thing, right? It is a good thing – until it doesn’t go away. When inflammation persists for extended periods, it becomes dangerous for your health. Inflammation is the cause of swelling, pain, and in some cases of TMJD, inability to use the jaw.

Long periods of inflammation have also been linked to an increased risk of developing dangerous health conditions, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, cancer, and arthritis.

What Foods Help Fight Inflammation

Although medications like NSAIDs and steroids can help lower your inflammation levels, you can do yourself a big favor by eating foods that reduce inflammation. Some of these foods include:

  • Tomatoes
  • Leafy greens, such as spinach and kale
  • Nuts
  • Olives and olive oil
  • Fruit
  • Berries, especially blueberries
  • Fatty fish, including salmon and tuna

These foods are all high in antioxidants, omega-3 acids, and polyphenols, all nutrients that work to protect cells from damaging long-term inflammation.

What Foods Cause Inflammation

If you are experiencing TMJD symptoms and have a lot of jaw pain, you can help reduce inflammation by avoiding:

  • Fried foods and fast food
  • Soft drinks
  • Caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea
  • Sugary foods, including pastries and white bread
  • Processed and packaged foods
  • Red meat

These foods feed inflammation and have been linked to an increased risk of developing deadly health conditions, such as heart attack and stroke.

Learn more about inflammation and how it affects you and your TMJ joints by calling Millennium Smiles at 972-987-4899 for a consultation.