Trouble Eating Difficulty Chewing

Difficulty and pain associated with chewing can be caused by various issues and conditions. Being challenged by chewing normally can often be linked to changes in the tissue, muscle, or bone structures of the jaw or face. Insight into chewing difficulty, whether behavioral or medical, is often realized by assessing other symptoms that are present.  However, regardless of cause, if any difficulty with chewing or swallowing is occurring for you, immediate medical and/or dental attention is highly recommended.

Pain with Chewing - Possible Causes

If trauma to the bones of the jaw or face has occurred it is not uncommon to experience problems or pain with chewing. Osteoarthritis can present in the jaw, but can also be the result of grinding of the teeth, or clenching of the teeth. Issues with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ or TMD) often do cause interruption of normal mastication. Tooth decay or loss, gum disease, and dry mouth are also possible causes of pain while eating or chewing.  Although less common, chewing difficulty can also be caused by oral infections or indicate cancer.  And it should be noted that one of the most frequent causes of difficulties with chewing is hidden damage in the gums or teeth.

Identifying the Problem with Related Symptoms

A doctor or dentist can often determine the cause of chewing pain or difficulties by noting other developing symptoms.  An unpleasant or strange taste in your mouth can be an indicator of progressing dental issues. Additionally, earaches, tenderness of the jaw or face, and headaches are all possible symptoms of teeth grinding (also known as bruxism) and other various TMJ disorders.  Significant changes in weight (loss or gain) can indicate underlying nutritional deficiencies which are often associated with difficulties with chewing, but this may also connected to other more severe pathology-related issues. Difficulty with swallowing may manifest as well in more extreme cases of pain and difficulty associated with chewing.

What To Do If You Are Experiencing Pain or Difficulty While Chewing

Please seek immediate medical attention if you are having any issues or pain with chewing and/or swallowing. Although, sometimes the result of non-serious causes, evaluation is advised for ruling out more serious underlying issues. Potential neuromuscular disorders will be looked for by your doctor, and your gastrointestinal system will likely be evaluated as well. X-rays (which used barium or other radioactive dyes) can be effective in tracing the sources of these kinds of issues, too.  Dental evaluation will likely include looking for damage in the teeth and looking for any oral infection. Depending on the cause and evaluation, you may be referred to an occupational or speech pathologist as one component of treatment.  Until you resolve the issues, soft foods are recommended, as well as proper hydration.  Nutritional balance is extremely important in supporting any treatments, and you may be advised to drink protein shakes, and it is also possible of course that medications may be prescribed depending on the findings of a complete evaluation.

More on Oral Health Issues : Jaw Pain