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biting-off-more-than-you-can-chewTaking bites that are too big to chew could be bad for your jaw and teeth. At particular risk are people with TMJ or temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), which can restrict the range of acceptable bite size.

Your teeth are strong, but forcing them to crunch down on hard objects can cause them to chip or break. Hard foods also require a lot of chewing, which increases jaw joint irritation. Dr. Phillips cautions against biting into hard candies, chewing ice, eating popcorn kernels or opening nuts with your teeth. All of these things could lead to chipping and breakage of natural teeth and restorations.

Even apples can cause problems. “If you need to open your mouth more than feels comfortable to take a bite, then you should cut the item into smaller portions that are easy to chew,” Dr. Phillips says. If you have to open your mouth to the point of discomfort, consider cutting your food into smaller pieces. It’s easier and safer to eat an apple slice or piece of sandwich than forcing your jaws to open abnormally and your teeth to endure the pressure.

Also, if you have jaw pain, give your facial muscles a rest. Try eating softer foods for a few days because they are easier to bite and chew, which limits the pressure on your jaw. If your jaw pain doesn’t go away, contact Dr. Fondriest for an examination.