The third molars, commonly referred to as wisdom teeth, typically grow at the back of the gums and are the last teeth to emerge.
Impacted wisdom teeth are a common occurrence due to the limited space at the back of the mouth. While most people have four wisdom teeth, one in each corner, they may develop at odd angles or only partially emerge.
Wisdom teeth that become impacted can lead to several issues. They might become infected, harm the teeth next to them, lead to crowding, or begin to decay due to difficulties in cleaning them.
To alleviate these issues, many choose to have their wisdom teeth extracted. However, it’s not essential to remove wisdom teeth unless they are causing complications.
Following a wisdom tooth extraction, it’s crucial to prioritize proper nutrition. A well-balanced diet helps reduce the chance of complications, decreases swelling, nourishes the body, and accelerates the healing of the wound.
Post-surgery, opt for foods that are soft and effortless to chew, rich in vitamins, minerals, energy, and protein to support the healing process.
Here are 15 soft foods ideal for consumption after a wisdom tooth extraction.
1. Pureed soups
Pureed soups, such as those made from tomatoes or pumpkins, are excellent choices following a wisdom teeth extraction. They’re simple to ingest without the worry of small pieces agitating the surgical site.
Furthermore, soups typically offer a rich supply of vitamins and minerals. This becomes particularly beneficial when consuming whole fruits or vegetables becomes challenging.
Such soups also aid in keeping you well-hydrated, a critical factor post-surgery.
For the best experience, it’s recommended to consume soups that are either room temperature or chilled, as hot variations might aggravate the area. Also, it’s essential to ensure vegetable soups are thoroughly pureed to eliminate any lumps.
Like soups, broths are an excellent source of nourishment after dental surgery.
Not only are they delicious, but they also contain a variety of vitamins and minerals. Moreover, broths are a great way to stay hydrated if you struggle to drink enough water.
Bone broth is a type of broth touted for its health benefits. It’s a nutritious stock made by simmering animal bones and connective tissue.
Although there are no direct studies on the health effects of bone broth, studies on the components of bone broth suggest it may have anti-inflammatory benefits.
Make sure to consume the broth either lukewarm or cold to avoid irritating the wound.
3. Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt is a nutritious high-protein food you can enjoy after dental surgery. It has a smooth and creamy texture that may help soothe and numb your mouth.
Greek yogurt is rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals such as calcium and zinc.
High-protein foods may aid the recovery process. Several studies have linked a low-protein diet to a slower recovery.
In addition, studies show that an adequate zinc intake may promote wound healing.
However, if your zinc status is already good, consuming additional zinc may provide no added benefits. That said, many zinc-rich foods such as steak and other meats are difficult to consume after dental surgery, so Greek yogurt can be a great alternative.
4. Mashed potatoes
Potatoes are root vegetables that can be prepared in many ways. Specifically, mashed potatoes can be a comforting food after you’ve had your wisdom teeth removed.
They’re rich in calories and nutrients, both important for recovery. This is because people have slightly higher energy requirements after having surgery.
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Mashed potatoes allow you to consume lots of nutrients and energy in just a few bites, which is great if you’re struggling to eat enough food.
Just make sure that your mashed potatoes are lukewarm or cold, as hot foods may irritate the wound.
5. Scrambled eggs
Eggs are among the best foods to eat after having your wisdom teeth out. They’re a source of high-quality protein rich in vitamins and minerals.
When it comes to buying eggs, try to find pasteurized or omega-3-enriched varieties. Omega-3 fats may aid wound healing.
Scrambled eggs can be easier to chew and swallow, compared with other egg preparations.
Apples are hard and crunchy, which isn’t ideal after having your wisdom teeth removed. Eating applesauce is one way to increase your fruit intake while avoiding irritation.
However, applesauce is usually made from puréed apples, which are typically skinless and cored — and this reduces their nutritional content. This is because the skin contains many vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Nevertheless, a skinless apple is a good source of vitamins like vitamin C. This vitamin may help boost the immune system, which in turn may aid the wound-healing process.
7. Mashed bananas
Bananas are among the most popular fruits in the world. Their soft texture makes them easy to chew and swallow after dental surgery.
What’s more, bananas are incredibly nutritious and provide a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, vitamin B6, manganese, and folate.
Mashing bananas can further soften their texture to reduce the risk of discomfort.
8. Banana ice cream
People often recommend eating ice cream when you’re recovering from wisdom tooth surgery. While the cold may have a soothing effect on the wound, regular ice cream is typically high in sugar and fat.
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Banana ice cream is a healthy and delicious homemade alternative to regular ice cream.
How to make banana ice cream
- 3–4 bananas, peeled
- a splash of milk (or almond or oat milk if you’d like a dairy-free alternative)
- Place bananas in the freezer for 3–4 hours or overnight.
- Cut frozen bananas into slices.
- Place frozen bananas into a blender and add milk.
- Blend until the mixture has a thick, smooth consistency, and enjoy.
Avocados are a unique fruit. While most fruits are high in carbs, avocados are low in carbs but high in healthy fats.
Their smooth, creamy texture makes them great for eating when you’re recovering from having your wisdom teeth taken out.
Avocados are very nutritious and a rich source of vitamin K, vitamin C, and potassium.
One study in animals found that avocados may speed up the wound-healing process. Although this research doesn’t indicate whether avocados speed wound healing in humans, the findings are promising.
While avocados are usually easy to eat, it may be easiest to consume whipped or mashed avocado during your recovery.
Smoothies are a great way to boost your nutrition when you can’t eat a solid meal.
They’re easy to consume and highly versatile. You can adjust the ingredients in smoothies to suit your tastes and meet your nutrition goals.
For example, smoothies with Greek yogurt or a scoop of protein powder can boost your protein intake significantly, which is important for recovery. Studies have shown that a low protein intake may impair the recovery process.
Try adding some fruit and vegetables into the blender alongside your choice of protein. It’s best to use seedless fruit, so you may want to avoid things like strawberries and blackberries.
Hummus is a common dip in Middle Eastern cuisine that’s become popular worldwide.
It’s a great source of healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and protein. This makes hummus an excellent food for someone who just had their wisdom teeth removed.
You can make hummus by blending chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, lemon, and garlic in a food processor. Alternatively, you can purchase premade hummus from most supermarkets.
Unfortunately, you may not be able to enjoy hummus with chips or pita bread because their crunchy texture may damage the wound. However, hummus is still delicious to eat by itself.
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12. Cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is low in calories and packed with vitamins and minerals. It’s soft and creamy, which makes it easy to chew and swallow as you’re recovering from wisdom tooth surgery.
Additionally, cottage cheese is packed with protein, which may aid wound recovery.
Cottage cheese is also easy to incorporate into your diet. Try adding it to scrambled eggs or into your smoothies.
13. Instant oatmeal
Oats are among the most nutritious foods. They’re filling and a good source of fiber, plus they contain vitamins and minerals.
Oats do have a slightly chewy and sticky texture, so it’s best to wait to consume them until at least 3 days after having your wisdom teeth removed.
It’s also best to opt for instant oatmeal because it’s less chewy than other types, such as oatmeal made with steel-cut oats.
To avoid irritation, make sure the oats have cooled down before you eat them.
14. Mashed pumpkin
Mashed cooked pumpkin is great to eat after you’ve had your wisdom teeth removed. While sometimes referred to as a vegetable, it’s a fruit.
Its soft, mushy texture makes it easy to chew and swallow without causing irritation.
What’s more, pumpkin is rich in vitamins A, C, and E, as well as minerals like potassium. These vitamins may help promote immunity, which in turn may help the body recover from wisdom tooth removal.
However, make sure to let the pumpkin cool down so it won’t irritate your wound.
Salmon is one of the healthiest fish you can eat. It’s also great to eat after dental surgery because it’s soft and easy to chew.
Salmon is a rich source of protein and healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids. These fats may aid wound healing by reducing inflammation, especially if you already have low omega-3 fatty acid levels.
Although inflammation is essential to the wound-healing process, excess inflammation can hinder recovery if it lasts too long.
What not to eat after wisdom tooth removal
Post-surgery, certain foods can aggravate the healing process of mouth wounds.
Here’s a list of foods to sidestep after a wisdom tooth extraction:
- Spicy dishes: These might lead to discomfort and inflammation.
- Crunchy and brittle snacks (such as chips or cookies): These can get trapped in the healing site and hinder the process.
- Majority of grains and seeds: Similar to the above, they can become trapped and delay healing.
- Sticky foods: There’s a heightened chance of accidentally biting your cheek, lips, or tongue, especially when the numbing effect post-surgery lingers.
- Alcoholic beverages: These might not only aggravate the wound but could also clash with medications, so it’s wise to refrain during the healing phase.
Additionally, it’s advised to refrain from using straws during your recovery. The suction produced in the mouth can lead to a dry socket.
A dry socket occurs when the protective clot over the extraction site gets dislodged, leaving the bone and nerves underneath exposed to the environment. This not only results in pain but also prolongs the healing duration.
After wisdom teeth removal, opting for soft foods that are rich in nutrients is crucial.
Such wholesome soft foods aid in the healing process and minimize post-surgical discomfort.
Ideal post-extraction food choices are:
- broths and soups
- Greek yogurt
- fluffy mashed potatoes
- softly scrambled eggs
- pureed apples
- ripe bananas
- banana-based ice cream
- cottage cheese
- creamy instant oatmeal
- mashed or puréed cooked pumpkin
- tender salmon
For those prepping for a wisdom teeth procedure, it’s a great idea to fill your pantry with these tasty options to ensure optimal nourishment and comfort following the operation.