Temporomandibular joint disorder can take the pleasure out of many things most people take for granted: singing, talking - even Halloween. That’s right. Halloween should be a fun day full of candy and costumes, but for someone with TMJ disorder, it can be a real nightmare. That’s because TMJ disorder can make normally enjoyable activities painful. But Halloween doesn’t have to be scary for your TMJ disorder! Here are some TMJ-disorder-friendly Halloween tips for the most spooktacular Halloween ever.
What and What NOT to Eat
For many people, Halloween is all about the candy. But if you have TMJ disorder, the candy can be a real terror. That’s because many of our favorite candies are terrible for TMJ disorder and can make TMJ disorder pain worse. Whether you’re buying candy to hand out or just raiding your kids’ bucket (we won’t tell!), be sure to avoid anything really chewy (taffy, Tootsie Rolls, gummies, caramel, Dots) or crunchy (Sweet Tarts, anything with nuts, Tootsie Pops, Blow Pops) and instead opt for chocolate (milk or dark), candy corn, Pixie Stix and popcorn.
Looking for a teeth-friendly treat to hand out? Skip the candy and give out toys like rings, temporary tattoos, glow sticks or even toothbrushes. The parents in your neighborhood will thank you, and you won’t have any leftover candy to deal with.
What and What Not to Wear
Because TMJ disorder can affect your entire body, it’s important to be careful about what you wear, especially on Halloween. Some costumes and masks may make it difficult to speak or breathe, which may make your TMJ disorder symptoms worse. Also, walking around carrying costume props or your kids’ excess candy can put strain on the back and shoulders, so be careful not to overdo it.
Watch the Clock
If your TMJ disorder symptoms are more painful at night or are exacerbated by certain activities (stress, traffic), pay attention to the time while you’re out celebrating. If you have a mouth guard, don’t forget to bring it, and if you think you may need a pain reliever while you’re out, be sure to bring it, and some water to take it with.
Have a safe, healthy and happy Halloween. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Lederman, please call 516-882-1764.