With Halloween right around the corner, stores are jam-packed with everyone’s favorite treats. Before you start stocking up on candy for the biggest candy holiday of the year, it might be helpful to learn which types of candy you should avoid if you have TMJ. Not only will certain candies cause TMJ pain to flare up, but can also cause TMJ headaches. There are also certain candies that are more likely to cause cavities but might irritate TMJ. Learn which candies you should put on your Halloween shopping list this year and which ones to leave off.

plastic pumpkin bucket overflowing with Halloween candy

The Worst Halloween Candy for TMJ

If you suffer from TMJ, you know exactly how horrible a flare-up can be when you forget to wear your oral splint for a few nights per week. When you eat the wrong kind of candy, it can also cause a flare-up – especially if you haven’t been wearing your oral splint. This means jaw pain, ear pain, tinnitus, and frequent headaches and migraines. These symptoms are not worth any amount of Halloween candy. To help avoid these symptoms, we recommend avoiding these types of candy.

Chewy Candy

You can probably imagine why chewy candy is terrible for TMJ. Chewy candy requires you to chew excessively to eat it which can cause overuse of your jaw joints. When overuse occurs, it can cause a TMJ flare up and result in jaw pain and headaches. To avoid this from happening, we recommend avoiding these chewy candies:

  • Caramel
  • Gum
  • Taffy
  • Starbursts
  • Skittles
  • Hot Tamales
  • Mike&Ike
  • Gummies
  • Hi-Chew
  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Candy Corn

As a rule of thumb, if it takes longer than 10 seconds to chew and swallow what you’re eating, it’s probably not good for your TMJ disorder.

Hard Candy

You might think that because you don’t have to chew hard candy that it’s safe to eat. That’s not actually the case. When you suck on hard candy, your mouth isn’t resting in a natural or comfortable position. Some hard candy can take up to 20 minutes to consume, making your mouth rest in these unnatural positions for an extended time that’s long enough to cause muscle strain and a flare-up of TMJ symptoms like jaw pain and headaches. If you decide to chew on hard candy, not only will you potentially damage your teeth, but the hard pressure used to chew can also affect your TM joint.

Crunchy Candy

If your candy is crunchy and kind of hard, it can also affect TMJ symptoms. For example, try to avoid Peanut M&Ms, Crunch Bars, Nerds, Peanut Brittle, Almond Joy, Whoppers, and more. Crunchy is a double whammy. Not only do you have to chew longer but you also have to bite harder. The combination of the two is just as bad, if not worse than chewy or hard candies alone.

Safe Halloween Treats and Candy for TMJ

If you suffer from TMJ, there are some candies you can safely enjoy without fearing for a flare-up. In addition to candy, there are also other sweet treats to enjoy. When you’re doing your Halloween candy shopping, consider purchasing one of these safe TMJ candies.


Any candy bars that contain chocolate that isn’t too chewy or crunchy are completely safe. The safest kinds are Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or just plain chocolate bars. If they don’t contain excessive amounts of nuts, caramel, or nougat, it’s probably safe to eat. The reason chocolate is so safe is that it melts in your mouth and eliminates much need to chew.

Baked Goods

The good news is that you can enjoy all the baked goods you’d like as long as they don’t contain anything too chewy or crunchy. Brownies, cookies, cakes, pies, and loaves are all safe to eat. You can even make them pumpkin flavored or Halloween themed to feel more festive.

Apple Cider and Hot Cocoa

Nothing screams fall like apple cider; well except maybe pumpkin spice. Regardless, apple cider is the perfect Halloween treat to indulge in next to hot cocoa. Best of all, neither hot cocoa nor apple cider affects TMJ one bit since no chewing is involved. Take your apple cider iced or heat it up for a cold night and you’re in for the perfect treat. Enjoy your hot cocoa with whipped cream or marshmallows if you wish since the marshmallows will melt in your drink.

Enjoy Candy, Headache-Free with TMJ Treatment in Rochester Hills

If you suffer from headaches and other TMJ symptoms every time you want to enjoy Halloween candy or other treats, it’s essential to seek out TMJ treatment. With TMJ treatment from Dr. Haddad in Rochester Hills, you can start living your life with improved symptoms and enjoy candy and treats on occasion without enduring days of debilitating symptoms afterward. Contact our TMJ dentist today to learn how TMJ treatment can benefit your life.