Why do my cheeks hurt intensely on the first (and only first) bite of certain foods?

When I have a bite of certain foods-- usually sweet ones-- my cheeks begin to experience a sharp and intense pain that lasts from 3-5 seconds, and then goes away. This happens on the first bite, but no subsequent bites, and only when I haven’t eaten anything in a while (several hours). What is the cause of this, and is it a common phenomenon?

I get that too, but I think from sour foods. In my family we’d say the “sour glands” are going off.

My guess is it’s the salivary glands ramping up too quickly, but that’s just a wild-ass guess.

I don’t know about the first part of this, but as to the latter, it happens to me quite often, too. The pain is right at the very back of the jaw, kinda where it hinges with the skull. I haven’t noticed any rhyme or reason as to when it happens or with what foods, though.

I’m pretty sure that’s it.

Yeah, I’m not entirely sure about the “ramping up too quickly” aspect, but it definitely comes from the salivary glands.

Perhaps you’re sitting on something.

If you think of salivary glands as having a muscle that “pumps” out your spit, I can’t think of a better way to describe going from zero to “oh my Og, here comes a lemon!” Once you’re eating the lemon, you’ve been pumping out some saliva for a bit, your mouth is moist, and your salivary glands don’t need to go from rest to double time trying to get all lubed up.

It happens to me too and on different types of foods. With me though it only happens after I have had some alcohol.

I sometimes get it just before I start eating salt-and-vinegar flavour crisps. Even before I’ve opened the bag. A kind of anticipatory tingle, I suppose.

That’s the most wonderful way of describing citrus fruit that I’ve ever heard of. :slight_smile:

I get a sort of pain like this sometimes, but to me it feels more like it’s my jaw muscles. I figure they’re just lacking being stretched or something when it happens. I don’t know if it’s the same thing the OP is talking about. I might not be down wit’ OPP (Original Poster’s Pain).

I get that with really good tangelos. Sadly, I haven’t had a really good tangelo in years. I called it First Squirt Response.

I too think it is the salivary glands being caught by surprise. To stop it happening you should wave some of the food you’re about to eat under your nose, to give them fair warning.

Edited… whoops, now I see you said your cheeks hurt. I read teeth. Oh well, if anybody’s teeth hurt intensely on the first (and only first) bite of certain foods, read the following, otherwise ignore.

My dentist described it as sensitive teeth. She explained that sensitive teeth are believed to be under-mineralized to the point where they have tiny channels through which fluid, saliva, etc (we’re talking microscopic, you’re not going to get a poppy seed in one of these) can flow. When the tooth comes into contact with something hot, cold, or having various chemical properties, it can cause the fluid to migrate out of the tooth like the tides, causing a change in pressure in the nerve cavity, which you feel as pain. (I am told this is all dental theory, but a highly credited theory).

The usual remedy is to use one of the sensitive-teeth toothpastes, which cause re-mineralization of the tooth so that these micro-channels narrow or close entirely. They work pretty well, though the downside is a feeling that your teeth aren’t getting brushed at all. This can drive some people crazy, especially considering that many with sensitive teeth got that way because they brush obsessively with high-abrasive anti-tartar toothpastes. In my case it worked.

I thought it was so weird that I was afraid to mention it to anyone.

I get it on the back of my jaw, a few seconds before I start to eat, and only on chocolate bars. For a while it was so bad that I stopped eating chocolate! It seems to have gone away, because it have eaten chocolate from time to time, and I can’t recall that feeling recently. But about 2-3 years ago, whoa, big time!

My guess was that something happening in the salivary glands, and there was some sort of Pavlovian trigger. What else would explain why it happened before eating? But there are many foods that I like more than chocolate, so that part really stumps me. Could it be a subconscious reaction to the scent?

We call it “zing”.

I hope this isn’t bad etiquette around here (resurrecting such an old thread), but I am feeling a certain kinship with all of these similarly affected people and I just wanted to let you know.

There isn’t any pattern to the food types that trigger it with me, it appears to be random, but usually preceded by a long period of not eating anything.

I’ve been drinking coffee all morning today (skipped breakfast) and it just happened when I ate a chewy cereal bar late morning. I got the full on throbbing pain that seems to fade in and fade out over 5 to 10 seconds. In the rear, lower jaw area but definitely not a joint pain, it comes from the fleshy parts down there. Sometimes it lasts longer and seems to focus down to a single point either side and I find massaging the area has zero effect but I do it anyway because I feel the urge to do something to try and relieve the pain.

I’m glad I’m not the only one and I feel like I’ve unburndened myself a little now I’ve told you about it!

zombie or no

the channels in teeth can act as mentioned. also salivary glands do react. head and mouth sensations can be weird too, nerves sensations can transfer to other nerves causing sensations in other locations.

ianad nor a cheek or a tooth though someday i will be food.

Definitely get this, too, most recently with a strawberry. It’s kind of like a charley horse with your mouth/cheeks.

It happens to me with every bite, I don’t believe it is the salivary glands because my mouth doesnt water up. The very first bite of anything does it to me. I hope someone can find out why, I would love to know.