It’s understandable, given the fact that around 80% of the population are unable to maintain their wisdom teeth – that the phrase “what to eat after wisdom teeth are removed?” is a very popular search term on Google.
In fact, it’s one of the most frequently asked questions we get asked as dentists. The answer, however, isn’t as simple as reeling off a whole list of foods or ingredients. On the contrary, what may be good for one individual after wisdom teeth removal, isn’t necessarily good for another.
Moreover, there are several elements that can and do affect the type of food you eat after tooth extraction. So let’s take a closer look at those first…
The number of wisdom teeth extracted
It could be that you only have to undergo one simple extraction e.g. if the tooth is completely visible with no obvious complications. In this case, recovery time is likely to be speedy. Alternatively, you might need to undergo multiple wisdom tooth extractions which is likely to prolong any recovery time.
The complexity of your wisdom teeth removal
This was alluded to in the last paragraph, but not every tooth extraction is the same. Some are deemed to be quick and easy procedures – e.g. when the tooth has fully grown through and is visible. Others, however, can be more complex – e.g. when they have only partially broken through the gum, are undermining other teeth, are growing at an irregular angle or in an unusual position.
In people who naturally have difficulty in fighting off infection, wisdom teeth removal may also mean a ton of antibiotics. Some antibiotics, however, can cause side effects including diarrhoea and nausea. Certain foods like spicy foods or caffeinated drinks can exacerbate these symptoms further, so in these instances they may best be avoided altogether.
So now you know how individual circumstances can affect what to eat after wisdom teeth are removed, let’s take a closer look at the foods you can and should eat following wisdom teeth removal.
It’s worth pointing out that many of these foods are also ideal for those who have undergone periodontal surgery, but as suggested, each surgery and each person is different so it’s important to follow your dentist’s post-op instructions closely.
Vegetables, particularly the green variety, are extremely good for aiding recovery. Foods like steamed tender stem broccoli, kale and spinach contain a myriad of vitamins and nutrients which can speed up the recovery process. Other vegetables like soft butternut squash, steamed carrots or mashed potato are also easy on the jaw and are ideal in the early days after wisdom teeth removal.
Of course, the key to any speedy recovery process is staying hydrated so try to drink plenty of water. Avoid heavily acidic drinks like orange juice for several days after undergoing wisdom tooth extractions. They may cause a burning sensation in some cases. Drinks like smoothies and protein drinks are also good for recovery but avoid drinking through a straw as any sucking motion can cause damage to the surgical site.
You also want to avoid heavily carbonated drinks and alcohol until you are fully recovered as they can also have a detrimental effect on the healing process. Hot drinks such as coffee and tea can be taken, but only when the mouth has begun to recover.
After wisdom teeth removal you may want to partake in a bowl of pasta. Pasta is normally good but only when cooked until very soft – avoid anything ‘al dente.’ In addition, try to avoid tomato-based sauces as they are acidic and may cause discomfort to the extraction site. Although not quite pasta, foods like Ramen noodles are also acceptable when taken alongside a broth – do be mindful that anything too hot can also cause problems at any wisdom tooth extractions’ site, so tepid is the way to go until your recovery is further advanced.
Soups and smoothies
Both soups and smoothies are nutrient-rich and will balance out many of the high sugar options such as jelly and ice cream. So these should make up the majority of your food intake, particularly in the first few days after wisdom teeth removal. As stated earlier, however, do watch the temperature.
Foods like natural yoghurts and cottage cheese are also great for providing calcium to aid that all-important bone healing and as far as texture goes, they’re soft enough to be manageable. If you love eggs, then softly scrambled is the way to go. Milk is also good but even better when incorporated into oatmeal to give you an energy boost.
Crisp green apples are off the menu for a few weeks after your wisdom teeth removal at least, but what about other fruits? Anything stewed is always good, so fruits like plums, pears and apples are ideal, just watch the sugar content. Bananas are good but preferably in soft or mashed form or even frozen and mashed as a healthy ice cream alternative.
Try to avoid store-bought canned fruits that contain lots of sugar. Seedless berries are good when pureed with milk in a milkshake but avoid seeded fruits like strawberries and raspberries where the seeds can get lodged in the extraction site. Avocados are an excellent source of potassium (even more so than bananas) and can also help speed up the recovery process after wisdom teeth removal – The best way to eat them is when soft – guacamole style!
Fish and meat
While you may want to avoid chewy steak, if you want to get in your meat fix, then well-cooked finely ground beef or turkey is a great source of protein. Alternatively, any soft flaky fish can also be eaten – just watch out for any bones which can become lodged in the tooth extraction site.
So there you have it…what to eat after wisdom teeth are removed and what you need to avoid.
Get in touch with us
Remember, if you’re considering undergoing wisdom teeth removal or already have an appointment and are feeling a little apprehensive, contact any one of our No Gaps Dental teams. We take the time to address any concerns or worries you might have and answer any questions, giving you a better understanding of the whole process leading to peace of mind.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks.