daily life

Soft Foods for TMJ Pain Flare-ups: Part 1

Photo by Aline Ponce.  From Pixabay.

Every now and then I have a really bad flare-up of pain in my jaw joint, aka TMJ pain (the “TMJ” stands for “tempromandibular joint” which means the jaw joint).  The only way to get it to calm down is to avoid chewing for awhile, and then gradually work up to foods that require a more normal amount of chewing.  In my case, because of my connective tissue disorder, there are also certain foods I always avoid since trying to chew them strains my jaw.

In this post, I’m sharing what I eat on a no-chewing diet and which foods I always avoid.  In my next post, I’ll share foods I eat on an easy-chewing diet and on a medium-chewing diet.

No-Chewing Diet:

  • fruit smoothies
  • instant breakfast
  • ice cream
  • sherbet
  • popsicles
  • Scandishakes (at 580 calories each, these are meant for people like me who struggle with unwanted weight loss)
  • apple sauce
  • canned fruit
  • mashed potatoes, yams or squash
  • store-bought baby food
    • I know this sounds super gross, but baby food cereal and meat are sometimes the easiest way to get something substantial to eat that doesn’t involve chewing and isn’t sugary.  Eating sugary things gets really tiring after about one day.  I like to add spices or mayonnaise to the meat to make it less boring.
  • soup
  • kefir
  • pudding
  • yogurt
  • Jello
  • nut butter
  • protein smoothies (I choose one thing from each of the following lists, then put it all in the blender):
    • milk, cream (stir it in after putting everything else through the blender, otherwise you just invented a new flavor of whipped cream 😉 ), or almond milk
    • ice cream or sherbet
    • vegan protein powder, instant breakfast, nut butter, or hemp protein powder
    • olive oil or canola oil (because I need the extra calories)
    • maple syrup
    • fresh, frozen or canned fruit (bananas or berries are usually the best)


Things I always avoid:

  • gum
  • caramel
  • steak
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • crunchy granola bars
  • most cold breakfast cereals (like Chex, Bran Flakes, granola, etc) – sure you can let them get soggy in the milk, but then they are gross
  • popcorn (the hulls make it too crunchy)
  • corn on the cob (just cut the corn off the cob after it’s cooked, then eat it)
  • crunchy pretzels
  • potato chips
  • tortilla chips
  • bagel chips
  • biting right into a whole apple

Well, that’s pretty much it for Part 1!

Have you ever needed to do a no-chewing or TMJ pain diet?  Feel free to let me know what it was like and what your favorite things to eat were in the comments.




9 thoughts on “Soft Foods for TMJ Pain Flare-ups: Part 1

  1. There is a traditional “sick” food in my family that I find great for TMJ pains. It’s mushy rice and potatoes with lots of butter. If you pressure cook the rice and potatoes, they become so soft that you can mash it into a mush by hand. Add the butter for a creamy texture, and it practically slides down the throat! No chewing required. Probably not too healthy, but so warming and delicious!! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The fennel and turmeric sound like a good thing to put in tomato soup! 🙂 My mom and I always have a hard time trying to find a good homemade tomato soup recipe that balances the sweet with the savory. It might be awhile before I can try that one since I’m having an acid reflux flare up too. 😦 I don’t think we got quite enough low-acid tomatoes in our garden this year for soup (yes, you can grow low-acid tomatoes. They are yellow, and nice and sweet and juicy, but not quite as tangy.)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yumm!! Sounds delicious! I had never heard of low-acid tomatoes! 🙂
    Hope your acid reflux calms down soon. 😦 I was on various pills to control GERD during my teens. Luckily now, I can manage with just diet and ranitidine whenever I need it. But back when it was raging, I thought several times I might be having a heart attack, esp. since it was combined with the shoulder aches from an impending fibro, LOL!!! 😉 Quite the fun eh?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, they are actually yellow when ripe!

      Thank you! 🙂

      LOL, I actually thought I was having a heart attack when I had my first hypermobility flare-up. I woke up in the middle of the night with all my muscles rock-hard and my heart was racing because my top rib had gotten jammed into my collarbone and cut off the blood to my arm. Luckily, I decided to just try to sit and relax and see if it got better before deciding if I was dying (and my heart did stop racing when the blood got back to my arm), but man that was scary.

      Liked by 1 person

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