What to Eat After Oral Surgery, for How Long, and Why
What are the best foods to eat after oral surgery? The answer to this question is rather straightforward, and most of the time, your dentist will give you a clear set of dietary instructions that will get you through the healing process in no time. Still, if you’re curious and would like to know what those instructions might include in advance, as well as why, we’ve got a brief yet comprehensive guide as to what kind of meals you should focus on after dental surgery.
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What Kind of Food Is the Best After a Dental Procedure
Surgery of any kind can be tough on our bodies. The healing process always requires some adjustments and accommodations that will remove unnecessary stress and help us give our bodies some time to recuperate. When it comes to oral surgeries, those accommodations include some dietary changes.
What do those accommodations entail? In short, you’ll have to stick to soft foods that don’t require a lot of chewing and energy to swallow. For example, you can eat:
- Soups and stews — Soups are usually rich in vitamins in addition to being liquid and easy to digest.
- Smoothies and oatmeals — Smoothies give you the freedom to be as creative as you want and get a lot of nutrients during a single meal. In addition, they can be quite delicious, which might get your spirits up!
- Yogurt and similar dairy products — Yoghurts are high-protein foods that can really speed up your recovery.
- Vegetables (e.g., mashed potatoes) — There are not many kinds of food that provide us with more nutrients than veggies. They’re also easy to prepare, easy to chew, and quite tasty.
- Scrambled eggs — Eggs are also rich in protein, and you can prepare them in many ways to accommodate your post-surgery needs.
- Mac and cheese — This dish needs no introduction. It’s tasty, easy to make, and it will make you feel full.
- Cereal — Cereals are rich in fiber, and they can be really soft when you pour milk over them, so they’re an amazing food if you can’t chew.
- Soft-cooked chicken — We need some meat in our diet to stay healthy, and chicken is the most versatile kind of meat. You can put some in your stews and soups for that additional animal protein.
What’s important to note here, though, is that the foods we mentioned are not only soft but rich in vitamins as well. As we said, surgeries can really take a toll on our bodies, which means our immune system needs a lot of nutrients to get back on its feet.
The foods on our list are all rich in vitamins A, B, C, and D, as well as some other nutrients, such as zinc and iron.
What You Should NOT Eat
While it might be tempting to get back to your usual diet if you feel like everything is fine, we must stress that you should under no circumstances rush things. There are some types of food that will only set you back and ruin your recovery. Those include:
- Caffeinated drinks and similar sorts of hot beverages — Coffee often leaves a bad taste in our mouths, which is not something you want to deal with after dental surgery.
- Foods consumed via straws, for example, thick milkshakes — Using straws is detrimental to your recovery because the air pressure can make the clots become loose and fall out.
- Spicy food — Spicy food can irritate the wound and the gum tissue surrounding it.
- Acidic food — Acidic food like citruses can cause additional pain if it comes in contact with the wound.
- Seeds and nuts — Seeds and nuts are tough to crack, so chewing on them takes a lot of effort. In addition, they can break, and their pieces can get stuck near the wound area, causing all sorts of problems.
How Long Do You Have to Eat Soft Foods?
The short answer? As long as necessary. Everyone is different, and everyone recovers at their own pace. Also, not every surgery is the same. Some are routine procedures, while others take a lot of time to complete and are generally more complicated. Depending on how your body reacts, you might need to stick to your new diet for a day, or you might need to focus on soft and nutritious foods for a week or more.
What Do I Do If I Don’t Feel Like Eating at All?
Low appetite is normal after surgery, and your dentist will be prepared for it. Also, even if you do feel hungry, you might be afraid to open your mouth and eat. That is perfectly normal too. However, it is important to realize that your body needs nutrients to function and recover. If you want your convalescence period to be smooth and short, you’ll have to find something that you can eat. Talk to your dentist and figure out what kind of food would tick all your boxes, and stick to it.
How Warm Should the Food Be?
Moderation is key. If you can, do your best to avoid eating hot and cold food. Extreme temperatures, especially when we’re talking about hot food, can cause irritation and aggravate the area where the surgery was performed. Instead, try consuming warm food and drinking lukewarm beverages.
What Else Can I Do to Make the Diet More Effective?
Eating properly is an important step to a speedy recovery, but it is not the only one, and a good diet will not be as effective if you neglect other aspects of recovery. To make sure you get back in the swings of things as soon as possible, don’t forget to:
- Stay hydrated throughout the day
- Rest a lot and avoid physical exertion
- Take some painkillers or apply ice packs to the swollen area
- Make sure your dental hygiene is at desirable levels
- Avoid smoking
- Avoid alcohol
- Stay clear of candy