Help Keep Your Patients Mindful of What They are Eating During the Holidays

This holiday season is all about having fun and spending time with your friends and family. However, it is important that our patients be mindful of what they eat so as to not worsen their TMD pain or sleep apnea condition.

Overeating often happens during the holidays, which can lead to weight gain and worsening of sleep apnea symptoms. And, depending on what they eat, it could exasperate the pain felt in the jaw.

What is the issue?

Immediately after overeating, patients might feel abdominal discomfort, but won’t think much about it. And while they might not immediately gain 10 pounds, it can lead to the development of weight gain if patients continue to eat like that. The repeated episodes of overeating result in health consequences such as obesity, high cholesterol, joint problems and sleep apnea. Excess weight can even lead to psychosocial and emotional problems.

It is completely fine to eat those holiday foods available once a year, so don’t encourage self-deprivation. However, overdoing it should definitely be avoided. Try to inform your patients on what to eat, how to pace themselves and what to do to make up for heavier eating during the holiday season such as exercising or going on a walk.

One way of doing this is to tell your patients to put a positive spin on not eating certain foods. This might include, “I can eat that, but I choose not to because I want to eat healthfully.” This helps to minimize the feeling of being deprived of food. Some other tips include planning ahead, setting priorities for the foods patients want to eat, staying hydrated and eating mindfully. Very few bites get that maximum pleasure for people.

Whatever our patients eat this holiday season, make sure you emphasize enjoyment, moderation and perspective. And after all is said and done, recommend a nice walk or hitting up the gym in the days following.

What are some tips you can share with us for keeping our patients’ eating patterns in check this holiday season?

Help TMD Patients Eat Right

Without proper nutrition your patients increase the risk of either gaining or losing weight, or suffering from nutritional deficiencies due to the pain caused by TMD. And through this, it can lead to other health problems. When it comes to maintaining your patients’ health and diet, it is important to remind them to eat fruits, vegetables, starches, protein and dairy, but to also be mindful of their TMD along the way.

A Background on TMD

Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) are complex and poorly understood, and are characterized by pain in the jaw joint and/or surrounding tissues and limitation in jaw movements. These problems can affect a person’s ability to chew and swallow foods, while limiting how wide he or she can open their mouth. The immediate causes of TMD conditions such as:

  • Injury
  • Arthritis
  • Muscle problems
  • Autoimmune and connective tissue disease
  • Developmental conditions
  • Movement disorders affecting the jaw

Whatever your patient’s situation may be, it is clear that TMD alone can impact the quality of life and lead to poor nutrition if the jaw pain and oral disability seriously affects their diet.

Encourage Patients to Eat Right

Many people who suffer from TMD tend to struggle with determining what to eat in order to maintain a proper weight and ensure adequate protein, vitamin and mineral status. Food choices will vary depending on the amount of pain your patients experience and their ability to open the mouth, chew and swallow. For those who are able to adequately open their mouths and have minimal pain, a soft or easy to chew diet will work well. A soft diet is defined as food that requires minimal chewing, including:

  • Dairy/Dairy Alternatives:Smooth yogurt, soft cheeses, milk, custard, puddings, and soymilk.
  • Grains:Soft bread, corn bread, muffins without seeds or nuts, soft tortillas, pancakes, and quinoa.
  • Fruits:Canned fruits, bananas, ripe melon, baked apples, fruit juice, and fruit smoothies.
  • Vegetables:Cooked carrots, squash, zucchini, spinach, kale or other greens, avocados, green beans, and cooked pumpkin.
  • Protein Foods:Soft-cooked chicken or turkey with gravy, meatloaf, fish, deli meats, meatballs, tuna, refried beans, and smooth nut butters.
  • Soups:Cream-based soups, tomato soup, and broth-based soups.
  • Desserts:Soft cakes, cobblers and pies, frozen yogurt, sherbet, milkshakes and puddings.

If your patient is unable to tolerate a soft diet, a pureed diet may be a better option. Some examples of foods that can be included in a pureed diet are:

  • Dairy/Dairy Alternatives:Smooth yogurt, soft cheeses, milk, custard, puddings, and soymilk.
  • Grains:Bread that has been soaked into a dissolvable consistency, pureed pasta, hot cereals, grits, and mashed potatoes.
  • Fruits:Applesauce, mashed ripe bananas, fruit juice, and seedless jam/jelly.
  • Vegetables:Mashed white or sweet potatoes, pureed carrots, beets, beans, peas, creamed corn and hummus.
  • Protein Foods:Pureed meats, pureed/scrambled eggs, crustless quiche, egg custards, and yogurt-based smoothies.
  • Soups:Soups that are smooth or that have been put through the blender.
  • Desserts:Puddings, custards, dessert soups, gelatin, and fondue.

By keeping a list of foods they can eat and foods not to eat, it is a good place for patients to start in ensuring they are eating the right foods. For your patients suffering from TMD it is important to guide them in choosing the right foods to eat. If you are not sure what to recommend your patients to eat, contact Dr. Mayoor Patel for more information in helping to protect your patients while minimizing jaw pain.

Help TMD Patients Eat Right

Without proper nutrition your patients increase the risk of either gaining or losing weight, or suffering from nutritional deficiencies due to the pain caused by TMD. And through this, it can lead to other health problems. When it comes to maintaining your patients’ health and diet, it is important to remind them to eat fruits, vegetables, starches, protein and dairy, but to also be mindful of their TMD along the way.

A Background on TMD

Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) are complex and poorly understood, and are characterized by pain in the jaw joint and/or surrounding tissues and limitation in jaw movements. These problems can affect a person’s ability to chew and swallow foods, while limiting how wide he or she can open their mouth. The immediate causes of TMD conditions such as:

  • Injury
  • Arthritis
  • Muscle problems
  • Autoimmune and connective tissue disease
  • Developmental conditions
  • Movement disorders affecting the jaw

Whatever your patient’s situation may be, it is clear that TMD alone can impact the quality of life and lead to poor nutrition if the jaw pain and oral disability seriously affects their diet.

Encourage Patients to Eat Right

Many people who suffer from TMD tend to struggle with determining what to eat in order to maintain a proper weight and ensure adequate protein, vitamin and mineral status. Food choices will vary depending on the amount of pain your patients experience and their ability to open the mouth, chew and swallow. For those who are able to adequately open their mouths and have minimal pain, a soft or easy to chew diet will work well. A soft diet is defined as food that requires minimal chewing, including:

  • Dairy/Dairy Alternatives: Smooth yogurt, soft cheeses, milk, custard, puddings, and soymilk.
  • Grains: Soft bread, corn bread, muffins without seeds or nuts, soft tortillas, pancakes, and quinoa.
  • Fruits: Canned fruits, bananas, ripe melon, baked apples, fruit juice, and fruit smoothies.
  • Vegetables: Cooked carrots, squash, zucchini, spinach, kale or other greens, avocados, green beans, and cooked pumpkin.
  • Protein Foods: Soft-cooked chicken or turkey with gravy, meatloaf, fish, deli meats, meatballs, tuna, refried beans, and smooth nut butters.
  • Soups: Cream-based soups, tomato soup, and broth-based soups.
  • Desserts: Soft cakes, cobblers and pies, frozen yogurt, sherbet, milkshakes and puddings.

If your patient is unable to tolerate a soft diet, a pureed diet may be a better option. Some examples of foods that can be included in a pureed diet are:

  • Dairy/Dairy Alternatives: Smooth yogurt, soft cheeses, milk, custard, puddings, and soymilk.
  • Grains: Bread that has been soaked into a dissolvable consistency, pureed pasta, hot cereals, grits, and mashed potatoes.
  • Fruits: Applesauce, mashed ripe bananas, fruit juice, and seedless jam/jelly.
  • Vegetables: Mashed white or sweet potatoes, pureed carrots, beets, beans, peas, creamed corn and hummus.
  • Protein Foods: Pureed meats, pureed/scrambled eggs, crustless quiche, egg custards, and yogurt-based smoothies.
  • Soups: Soups that are smooth or that have been put through the blender.
  • Desserts: Puddings, custards, dessert soups, gelatin, and fondue.

By keeping a list of foods they can eat and foods not to eat, it is a good place for patients to start in ensuring they are eating the right foods. For your patients suffering from TMD it is important to guide them in choosing the right foods to eat. If you are not sure what to recommend your patients to eat, contact Dr. Mayoor Patel for more information in helping to protect your patients while minimizing jaw pain.