Magnesium and Jaw Pain
Does magnesium help jaw problems?
Jaw problems stemming from the TMJ (temporomandibular joint) and surrounding muscles can cause TMJ pain, TMJ headaches, TMJ ear pain and other issues. Bad habits such as poor posture, chewing on one side of the mouth, night-time teeth grinding and clenching are destined to have detrimental effects on the joints and muscles in the jaw, neck and behind the ears. There is no single food or nutrient for supporting joint health. Exercising, eating a well-balanced diet rich in plant foods, and self-care are important in keeping your joints healthy.
While research does not yet support that transdermal magnesium is effective for joint problems (including TMJ), we know that eating an anti-inflammatory diet that is rich in dietary magnesium and includes other nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin K and antioxidants is important for bone and joint health.
What is an anti-inflammatory diet?
An anti-inflammatory diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, foods with omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy, monounsaturated fats and certain spices. It discourages highly processed foods, red meats and alcohol. Avoid dairy if you are allergic to cow’s milk.
An anti-inflammatory diet is more of a style of eating, rather than a specific diet. Most anti-inflammatory foods are found in the Mediterranean and DASH diets.
What is magnesium?
It’s an essential mineral that helps regulate muscle and nerve function. It also helps create protein, DNA and plays a role in bone health, blood pressure and blood glucose control.
How much magnesium do I need?
It’s always best to get your nutrients from your food, not from pills. The magnesium in dietary supplements and medications should never be consumed in amounts above the upper limit, unless under the direction of a healthcare provider. Women require 310 to 320 milligrams of magnesium per day. Pregnant women should consume an additional 40 to 50 milligrams. Men need 400 to 420 milligrams per day.
Magnesium-rich foods for jaw health:
- Low-fat dairy products like yogurt, kefir and part-skim mozzarella cheese.
- Soy foods like soy milk, tofu and edamame
- Nuts and seeds like walnuts, pumpkin seeds and quinoa
- Whole grains like oats, buckwheat and whole-wheat bread
- Leafy greens like kale, spinach and swiss chard
- Legumes and pulses like black beans, lentils and peas
- Seafood like salmon, halibut and mackerel
- Dark chocolate and cocoa powder
Anti-inflammatory foods for jaw health:
- Prunes for vitamin K, potassium and magnesium
- Turmeric, cinnamon and ginger for antioxidants
- Cherries, berries and pomegranates for anthocyanins
- Red peppers, citrus and tomatoes for vitamin C
- Walnuts, salmon and flaxseeds for omega 3 fatty acids
- Sweet potatoes, carrots and cantaloupe for beta-carotene
What is the DASH diet?
The DASH diet is a dietary pattern researched and recommended by the U.S.-based National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to prevent and control hypertension. The DASH diet:
- Emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains and low-fat dairy products
- Includes fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and vegetable oils
- Limits foods that are high in saturated fat, such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, and tropical oils such as coconut, palm kernel, and palm oils
- Limits sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets.
What is the Mediterranean diet?
U.S. News consistently ranks the Mediterranean diet as the best overall diet, whether you’re trying to lose weight, control blood sugars and/or cholesterol or just want to eat a more plant-based diet. It’s also considered one of the easiest diets to follow. It’s more of a lifestyle based on the typical food patterns of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea in the 1960s, where life expectancy was among the highest in the world and rates of diet-related chronic diseases were among the lowest. It’s rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, seafood and olive oil. It’s low in red meat and other saturated fats, and contains few processed foods or refined sugars. The Mediterranean diet includes alcohol in moderation—traditionally, sipping wine with meals. There are behavioral and social components like sitting down to meals as a family or group.
If you are looking for an overall “best diet book” check out Beyond The Mediterranean Diet: European Secrets Of The Super-Healthy. It combines the principles of the two healthiest diets: the Mediterranean and DASH diets and includes 50 easy recipes for breakfast, lunch, snacks and desserts.
The bottom line:
Always listen to science over social media influencers. It is unknown if magnesium spray and topical applications absorb through the skin and enter the bloodstream. It is known that eating a healthy diet will help your joints (and bones)! Keeping joints and bones healthy may prevent TMJ disorders. Self-care and awareness of posture, chewing and other habits can help manage jaw problems.
Image courtesy of freepik.com