TMJ (temporomandibular joint syndrome) is fairly common in both children and adults that dive frequently. There is a large amount of stress that is placed on your jaw joints and this can result in pain for an extended period of time. If your child experiences TMJ, then their pain may last a few minutes, hours, or even days. If it lasts for a long time, then it is difficult to avoid activities that place additional stress on the jaw. One of the main activities that result in this is eating. Eating certain foods during this time can end up aggravating your child's TMJ. Fortunately, there are a few tips that you can use to ensure your child does not make their TMJ worse following a dive.
Encourage Your Child to Stick to a Liquid Diet for the First Few Hours
During the first few hours, the pain will be the most intense. Therefore, it is important to avoid eating during this time or to eat foods that are extremely easy to consume. If it has been a while since your child last ate, you can encourage them to stick to a liquid diet for the time being. Liquids require very little jaw use in order to consume them. You can create a filling liquid meal for your child by creating smoothies. The smoothie should contain things like vegetables and strawberries. You can add protein, milk, ice cream and yogurt if these are ingredients that your child likes. As long as you use ingredients filled with nutrients, this smoothie will keep your child full for a bit.
Stick to Soft Foods
As long as your child is still suffering from the TMJ symptoms, they should only be eating soft foods. This includes anything like applesauce, soups, and oatmeal. These foods do not require much chewing and can easily go down. Your child can even enjoy mashed potatoes or soft vegetables that have been cooked. If your child has a favorite food, then try to make sure that it is as soft as possible before feeding it to them. This can be done by cooking the food in a slow cooker. Some of the toughest meats can be transformed into soft foods with the help of a slow cooker.
TMJ can severely limit what your child has the ability to eat. Initially, this can feel overly restrictive on your cooking options. However, you can use these tips to help you come up with some creative and safe options for your child.
Dentistry For Children & Adolescents and other dental practices can provide more information on TMJ.