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TMJ and Halloween Candy

With overflowing buckets of Halloween candy hanging around the house for weeks, and the winter holidays on the way, there’s plenty of potential for aggravating your TMJ disorder by eating the wrong treats. It can be difficult to know what’s safe to eat and what has the potential to worsen your TMJ symptoms.  If you’re swimming in snacks but don’t know which ones are safe, check out this guide to TMJ-friendly (and not-so-friendly!) treats.


Gummy Treats

Treats like Tootsie Rolls, taffy, gum, Milk Duds, Dots, caramels and gummy bears may taste delicious, but they’re definitely not a good idea if you suffer from TMJ. Because these candies are extra-chewy, they require your jaw to do extra work to break them down before swallowing, which can aggravate your jaw and cause pain and soreness. Worse yet, they’re pretty bad for your teeth even if you don’t have a TMJ disorder. Gummy snacks stick to your teeth, adhering all that sugar to your enamel, right where oral bacteria can snack on them. That snacking creates an acid byproduct, which in turn causes those painful spots we know as cavities. If you do eat gummy candies, be sure to brush your teeth shortly after to remove any residue left behind.

Hard Candies

Lollipops, Jolly Ranchers, jawbreakers or any other candy that is difficult to immediately crunch down on are a bad idea for your TMJ disorder. This is because even though these candies were meant to be slowly dissolved by your saliva over time, most people can’t help but crunch them before they’ve completely disappeared - and that crunching isn’t good for your TMJ. That’s because your jaw isn’t meant to crunch foods that are that solid, so your jaw has to use additional force to break them down. If you’re already experiencing jaw pain and tightness, this type of crunching can make matters a lot worse.

Crunchy Foods

Snacks like pretzels, chips, Crispy M&Ms, Heath bars, Whoppers and Butterfingers are another category of snack you should avoid if you’ve got a TMJ disorder. These foods aren’t as hard on your teeth as hard candies, but they still require extra crunching, which can cause soreness and pain in your jaw.

Foods That Won’t Worsen TMD Symptoms

It may seem like there’s nothing left to enjoy after reading a list like the one above, but don’t panic! There are still some TMJ-friendly treats you can look forward to this Halloween and beyond. You can still indulge in chocolate bars, Nestle Crunch bars, Plain M&Ms (or any candy with a flavored-chocolate center), marshmallows, Pixy Stix, Snickers bars, peppermint patties, peanut butter cups, Reese’s Pieces, 3 Musketeers and many more! See? There’s still plenty of candy you can enjoy with a TMJ disorder - just remember to brush and floss your teeth when you’re done!

For any questions about TMJ disorders, or about what kinds of foods are safe for your teeth, give Dr. Simpson’s office a call at (910) 550-3959.

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