Why do we sometimes get a strange painful sensation in the …

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    This happens to me. It’s worse with tart foods, but can happen with any food. The first bite is the one that does it. Feels like a cramp on both sides.

    This is typically related to your salivary glands, and they are attached to nerves that run up your jaw.

    This is typically worse if you are dehydrated. Basically, you eat food, and your salivary glands cramp, trying to release any extra saliva they have stored up.

    If it goes away after a few seconds, and stays gone for the rest of the meal, then probably just endure it.

    If it stays painful for a long time, or comes back throughout the meal, then you could have a blocked or calcified salivary duct. You should see your physician about it.

    I get the same thing. I think it’s caused by salivary glands suddenly being “switched on” by food in the mouth.

    Normally we anticipate the presence of food. We see the food and smell it before we start to eat. Our salivary glands have a chance to get started before we begin to eat. (Which is why we talk about mouth-watering foods).

    If you bite or taste something unexpectedly, the salivary glands get suddenly activated which produces an uncomfortable sensation for a few moments. It’s harmless.

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    Your mention of sour food / food deprivation makes me suspect that you’re experiencing the tingling/slightly painful sensation of suddenly increased saliva secretion. The major salivary glands are the parotid, submandibular, and sublingual, with the parotids being the largest. The parotid glands sit just forward of the ears, in close proximity to the jaw, so the sensation can easily be interpreted as pain in the jaw.

    NOT A DOCTOR [yet], but to my understanding occasional tingling/pain of this sort is normal, but frequent and very severe pain is pathological and may indicate inflammation, infection, or obstruction of the salivary glands.

    Look up First Bite Syndrome. It is a real thing. I have this issue and seems to be what you’re describing.

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    It is a spasm of the parotid gland smooth muscle, basically squirting saliva into the mouth. Tart foods can trigger it mostly.

    If it persists you may have some calcification of the salivary duct which may need treatment.

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    Most likely this is caused by dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint, the joint where the jaw attaches to the skull. It is just below the ear. This is a common problem. See your DENTIST about this.

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    If you only get it at the first bite, the answers about salivary gland switch-on may be relevant. And if it only happens with certain foods, there’s a possibility your body is telling you it doesn’t have a good reaction to them. If you have ongoing pain and/or clicking when chewing or talking, however, ask your dentist if you might have TMJ (temporo-mandibular joint dysfunction).

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    Are you describing like a “locking” feeling? Or pain when chewing?

    You may have a condition called TMJ, or Transmandibular Jaw Syndrome.

    This is a condition where the joint that links the lower jaw to the skull either becomes irritated, inflamed, or dislodged, causing a “frozen” or tight feeling, popping, locking, or extreme pain in the face and head, This usually occurs only on one side on the face, right below the ear, where the TMJ joint is located.

    TMJ injuries are most likely caused by sudden trauma, such as a car accident, or a fall.

    If you suspect that you have a TMJ problem, you should immediately consult with a dentist. They have the best equipment and tools to diagnose the problem and can refer you to a specialist if you need one.

    TMJ Joint

    I get this too, as do several people on this planet. This is the result of your saliva glands reacting in a sudden surge to produce saliva in response to food that you haven’t given them in a while, hence the “burst of flavor spasm” feeling.

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    If you feel initial pain when eating sweets, it’s more likely to be due to stimulation of pain fibers in the trigeminal nerve of the oral mucosa or teeth than to the flow of saliva. There’s no reason to think the release of saliva would ever be painful. Saliva flow and pain may happen at the same time, but that doesn’t mean the first of these is the cause of the second. That’s considered a mistake of confusing correlation with causation.

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    There are six salivary glands: a pair under the tongue (glandula sublingualis), left and right under the jaw (glandula submandibularis) and left and right under the ears (glandula parotis). When starting to eat or sometimes even thinking about eating (e.g. thinking of biting a lemon) these glands produce saliva to make digesting food easier. Some people feel the glands at that point produce saliva. You apparently feel the glandula parotis do its work.

    Sometimes though little stones block the duct of the gland causing inflammation, swelling and pain, but inflammation can occur of its own. When there is pain and/or swelling go to a doctor.

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