If you have both diabetes and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, you probably are well aware of how painful and troublesome both conditions can be on their own. Together it can often seem like the two are joining forces for evil to ruin your health and happiness. It may even seem like one condition is making the other worse – but that could just be in your head, right? Well, not so fast. The truth is, having TMJ disorder and diabetes together can actually exacerbate both conditions. So maybe it’s not in your head after all …
As a diabetic, one word you’ve probably heard often is inflammation. Inflammation is your body’s response to fighting off infection. Inflammation in itself can be a good thing, but it can be bad if it lasts longer than necessary. Chronic inflammation can cause heart disease, arthritis, periodontal disease and diabetes, just to name a few dangerous and life-threatening conditions. Inflammation can also make the pain of TMJ disorder a whole lot worse, because the inflammation affects the joints.
Diabetic Diets and TMJ Disorder
One of the keys to maintaining a healthy life with diabetes is by eating healthy food. Unfortunately sometimes healthy food can make TMJ disorder symptoms worse, so be sure you are eating the right healthy foods. Try foods that are high in vitamin D to help reduce inflammation, such as salmon, leafy greens and quinoa – all of which also happen to be easy to chew, even with TMJ disorder. You may also want to try steaming vegetables so they are softer, and eating soft fruits such as bananas, citrus, berries and ripe peaches. Apples can be cut into smaller bites, made into applesauce or baked. Other great TMJD options that are suitable for diabetics are peanut butter, hummus or any other pureed or blended nut – provided it does not have any sugar added. Finally, soft cheeses like fresh mozzarella, cottage cheese and Monterey jack are all excellent sources of protein that will not break your diet. You can even try sugar-free or “light” yogurt, which has active cultures that can regulate both your gut bacteria and oral bacteria. Plus, yogurt can help regulate another inflammatory condition: inflammatory bowel disease. Remember, your oral health is closely connected to your overall health and well-being. When you take care of your mouth, your entire body benefits, but when you neglect your oral health, your entire body can just as easily suffer. To learn more about TMJ disorder, please give Dr. Alexandra George a call at 724-220-2347.