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How To Avoid TMJ Triggers During The Holiday Season

How To Avoid TMJ Triggers During The Holiday Season

Hello, this is Dr. Mike Gallagher and I am passionately focused on TMJ treatment for TMJ/TMD disorder & I’m a TMJ Dental Specialist in Eden Prairie. TMJ concerns are something that come up a lot during the holidays since this time of year often involves traveling, sharing meals with family and friends, and increased stress. All of these can be triggers for TMJ dysfunction.

It is likely that many of you will be attending Holiday gatherings over the next few weeks and my desire is for you to fully and thoroughly enjoy the Holidays with your family and loved ones by adopting some of these tips to keep your TMJ symptoms and pain in check. Most people enjoy the Holiday season because they get to take time off work and hang out with their loved ones. However, for many of us, the Holidays are usually filled with ups and downs. This can be especially true if you’re dealing with TMJD (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder.)

When you have a TMD flare up, the most wonderful time of the year can quickly become not so wonderful. The time that you want to spend relaxing and partaking in festivities becomes devoted to finding ways to mitigate the constant pain and discomfort in your jaw. No one wants to deal with a sore jaw, headache, lack of sleep, or even locking or dislocation of the jaw when they’re trying to enjoy Holiday festivities. That’s why it’s important to keep your TMJ in good working order. By adopting TMJ-friendly practices, you can avoid triggers that may cause a flare up. Below, I have shared some tips to help you avoid TMD pain during the holiday season.

Traveling During the Holidays with TMJ Pain

Traveling during the holidays is stressful. People often get stuck in traffic and sit in the car for hours or have to shuffle through a crowded airport. If you have kids or pets, it can be even more stressful because your attention is being pulled in all different directions, making it hard for you to take care of your own personal needs. All of this causes stress which can lead to a TMJ flare up.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to mitigate your stress and avoid TMD pain. Here are some tips for traveling with TMJD during the holidays:
● Budget in extra time for traveling. Sometimes, things happen, and it takes longer than you planned to get to your destination. Avoid stress by budgeting in extra time for traveling to the airport or getting to your next stop on the road.

● Keep your TMD gear on hand. Do you have special items that you use to deal with TMD flare ups like pain killers, a heating pad, essential oils, or a comfy pillow? If so, keep them close by while you’re traveling. Sure, they may take up extra space in your carry-on, but you’ll be glad you have them when symptoms arise.

● Pack healthy snacks. Avoid the vending machine and stick to snacks that are TMJ-friendly. Consider packing some healthy snacks to take with you like soft fruits, string cheese, or sugar-free yogurt. Avoid hard, crunchy snacks like potato chips and nuts that can cause teeth grinding and jaw pain.

● Stick to a TMJ-friendly diet. You may be tempted to stray from your usual diet when you’re traveling out of town or celebrating somewhere other than home. But before you do, think about the consequences. Is it really worth the hours of pain and suffering that will surely follow? Do your best to stick to a TMJ-friendly diet whenever possible.

Enjoy a TMJ-Friendly Holiday Dinners

Having TMD doesn’t mean you have to miss out, even when it comes to Holiday dinners. There are still plenty of TMJ-friendly foods that you can enjoy during dinners. A good rule of thumb is to avoid anything that’s hard, chewy, or crunchy. This includes crusty breads, raw fruits and veggies, and dried fruits. Instead, stick to foods that are easy to chew, and gentler on your jaw. You can ask your host or hostess in advance what they plan to serve or cook the meal yourself!

Here are some great TMJ-friendly foods that you can enjoy during Holiday dinners:
● Turkey (Pro tip: stick to dark meat – it’s even softer!)
● Cooked apples
● Sweet potatoes or mashed potatoes
● Sauteed veggies (carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli are much softer when cooked)
● Cranberry sauce
● Pumpkin pie or any fruit pie
● Cottage cheese
● Macaroni and cheese
● Deviled eggs
● Smoked salmon
● Soft biscuits

Contact Us Today!

If you have concerns about your TMJ health or are experiencing TMD symptoms, please feel free to contact me at 952-942-9600. The holidays are a wonderful time of year and my team and I want you to feel your best!

Dr. Mike Gallagher, DDS

More About Gallagher Dentistry & Facial Pain Center

Dr. Michael Gallagher and our Eden Prairie Dentistry team are committed to providing exceptional care and empowering our patients with information about their dental health. If you have any questions about our services or would like to schedule an appointment, we invite you to give us a call at (952) 942-9600. The outstanding experience of our dental team, Dr. Gallagher, and the skills of our staff have helped us in successfully treating our patient’s oral problems. We’re always welcoming new patients throughout Eden Prairie, Chanhassen, Bloomington, Minnetonka, Edina, Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Burnsville, Plymouth, Eagan, Richfield and surrounding areas. For more information, please contact us!

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