Generally, the third molars which are commonly referred to as the ‘wisdom teeth’ are often unfit to stay in the mouth. This problem is usually seen between the ages of 17 to 25. Hence, wisdom teeth removal is a common type of tooth extraction surgery.
The do’s and don’ts of eating post the wisdom tooth removal surgery depends on the nature of the surgery and also how your mouth reacts to the tooth extraction procedure. Eating after this surgery might be difficult or painful for several days. However, following the instructions of your oral surgeon or dentist helps minimize the discomfort, pain or swelling and also reduces the risk of developing any complications. Wisdom tooth removal also reduces the risk of periodontal disease.
Proper nutrition is crucial for recovery post such tooth extraction procedure. But it’s important to keep in mind the do’s and don’ts regarding the types of food you can eat. The right foods will provide you with all the nourishment you need, while the incorrect type of foods may cause harm to the site of surgery resulting in pain and delayed recovery.
Let’s take a look at what are the best food options and what kind of foods you should avoid post wisdom teeth removal:
Type of Foods You Should Eat
Soft Foods or Liquid Meals
The day you return home from surgery, soft meals which do not require any chewing and certain liquids are your best bet. Soft foods such as mashed potato, ice cream, applesauce, yogurt etc. should be preferred. Liquids like soups or lightly seasoned smooth purees are also a good for you as these do not require any chewing and hence there is no risk of any harm to the site of surgery. You can also have smoothies made with milk or juice and protein shakes.
On the second day after your tooth extraction surgery, you can try eating semi-soft foods if you feel comfortable. Boiled vegetables, baked potatoes, scrambled eggs or even pasta are some of the semi-soft foods which you can eat. Be careful to start with small bites and remember to chew very slowly. If you had teeth removed only on one side, you should try and chew with the other side or your front teeth.
It is important that you drink ample amount of water, especially during the first 24 hours of wisdom teeth extraction surgery. Strictly avoid caffeinated beverages such as tea or coffee, alcoholic or carbonated beverages such as soda. Also, avoid drinking extremely hot or extremely cold liquids or beverages as such extreme temperatures can cause pain in the tender areas. Refrain from using a straw to drink any liquids as the suction created by using a straw puts undue pressure which may dislodge the clots formed over the exposed tissues. This can lead to discomfort or pain and even delay the healing process.
Types of Food You Should Avoid
Avoid foods which are hot, hard, spicy and sticky or require significant chewing. For instance chips, cookies, popcorn, chewy or hard candies etc. Such foods may get stuck in the sockets in the site of surgery and cause infection or prevent healing. In rare cases, consuming hard foods immediately after such surgery may even lead to a fracture in the jaw bone.
You can get back to a normal diet after you feel that the soreness and pain have subsided and you feel comfortable eating solid foods. However, this should be done gradually. If you feel the pain returns, it is advisable to switch back to semi-soft or soft foods. Soreness in your jaw and facial muscles while chewing for some time is quite normal.
An important thing to remember is to not skip any meals. This will speed up the healing process and decrease the recovery time required. Talk to your dentist about proper oral care to follow after every meal so as to reduce the risk of food debris accumulation in the site of surgery. Good oral care post such dental surgery helps avoid infection and other oral complications.
A dental marketer at Michael G. Long DDS, Fresno, CA and a believer in holistic health, Grace lives by the rule that health and happiness go hand in hand. She writes on various dental topics focusing on healthy living and holistic health. When she’s not working or blogging, she enjoys spending her time with her family and volunteering at the local youth centers where she educates children about the importance of health and fitness.