Knowing what to eat after wisdom teeth removal or a tooth extraction plays a huge role in your recovery after oral surgery. Having a list of foods ahead of time makes it easy to stock up your pantry and fridge so that you can focus on resting. Plus, it makes it more convenient for anyone who is staying with you to help. Although there are plenty of foods safe to eat following oral surgery, it’s hard to get creative at times. Having a lengthy “recovery menu” to choose from can make it easier to do your grocery shopping leading up to the appointment.
Depending on your palate and personal preferences, here are some post-extraction, safe-to-eat foods that are approved by our Ottawa dentist:
Gelatin, Pudding, and Ice Cream — Make sure one or all of these “treats” is in your kitchen. The cool texture can ease irritation and swelling while you eat. As long as it’s smooth without any added items (such as nuts in ice cream) it’s safe to eat at any time. Depending on your preferences, one or all of these common post-surgical foods should be at the top of your shopping list.
Popsicles — Although they aren’t necessarily “filling”, popsicles can help numb your mouth if it’s still tender and at least give you the flavour of something to make it seem like you’re eating. Plus, they’re easy on your stomach if you’re just coming out of sedation or feel slightly nauseous.
Cottage Cheese, Yogurt — Depending on your texture and flavour choices, having one (or both) of these foods on hand is appropriate following an extraction. There’s practically no chewing needed, so you can eat a full serving so long as your stomach is comfortable with it!
Smoothies and Shakes — So long as you’re not drinking through a straw and only using a spoon, milkshakes and smoothies are a safe go-to meal when you’re recovering from an oral surgery like wisdom teeth extractions. If you have a blender, consider buying pre-packaged smoothie mixes or fresh fruit to simplify the process. As far as milkshakes go, it’s probably better to send a friend out to fetch one, since you won’t be up to driving for a little while.
Oatmeal or Grits — As long as they’re not too hot, warm breakfast cereals like oatmeal and grits can be safe to eat. The key is to not add any toppings such as nuts or firm fruits, as they could irritate the extraction area. Plain oatmeal or grits that are sweetened with honey, jam, or agave nectar can give you a filling, flavourful food option.
Mashed Potatoes — Peeled mashed potatoes are a delicious treat, especially when you add in some cheese and sour cream. Just avoid the bacon bits for now! The key is to keep the consistency as soft as possible. If the mashed potatoes are too thick, consider adding milk to transform it into creamy potato soup. Tip: Buy instant mashed potatoes for a fast, single-sized serving when you’re feeling hungry.
Chocolate Milk — Many people turn to chocolate milk after long workouts like running or cycling. It’s rich in calcium, protein, and other vitamins and minerals. If you’re not quite ready to eat anything solid, chocolate milk can help appease your food cravings. Just be sure not to drink through a straw, as it might dislodge your clot.
Scrambled Eggs — If you like eggs, plan to buy a dozen or so. Soft, scrambled eggs make an excellent breakfast if you’ve just had a tooth pulled. Since they’re not too firm, any chewing that needs to happen can take place on the opposite side of your mouth, or with your front teeth. The smooth texture is non-irritating, so there’s no need to worry about irritating the surgical area.
Apple Sauce — Plain, sweetened, or flavoured apple sauce is gentle on extraction sites, so you won’t have to worry about irritating any blood clots or sutures. Plus, it’s packed with fibre.
Canned Peaches — Diced, canned peaches require little to no chewing, but still give you that sensation of eating solid food. Although canned fruits tend to be high in sugar or syrup, they are a safe and convenient meal option for our oral surgery patients in the short term.
Avocados — A ripe, soft avocado can easily be mashed and eaten by spoon if you’re starting to progress to slightly firmer foods. You might say, “I’ll just buy guacamole”, but since that tends to be spicy or chunky depending on the blend, it’s probably not a great idea.
Puréed Foods — While foods such as a banana or steamed veggies aren’t necessarily hard, they may be just a bit too firm to chew if you just had a tooth extraction. Instead, consider pureeing them in a food processor. Although the consistency will be more like baby food (that’s ok to eat, too) it will add to your nutrient-rich food options.
Foods to Avoid After Tooth and Wisdom Teeth Extractions
The list of foods to avoid is far lengthier than the ones that are safe to eat after having a tooth removed. Generally, you need to avoid anything hard, crunchy, sharp (such as chips), spicy or hot.
Additionally, do not drink through a straw (the suction is bad for healing extraction sites), or any alcoholic or caffeinated beverages. Smoking is also contraindicated. These factors could potentially disrupt the blood clot that forms over your extraction site. If that happens, it can lead to painful dry socket and increase the length of your recovery time.
When in Doubt, Give Us a Call
Parkdale Dental Centre is here by your side before, during, and after your tooth extraction. To ensure your recovery is straightforward, we recommend only eating soft foods that are cool, room temperature, or slightly warm (nothing hot). Tough or crunchy foods can irritate your extraction site and raise your chances of getting dry socket.
With great self-care and the right foods on hand, your extraction recovery can be a predictable process. Should you need any assistance, we encourage you to give us a call! We are always happy to assist you with your tooth extraction needs.