Immediately following wisdom tooth removal, you will only be able to eat liquid and soft foods.
These foods don’t require chewing, helping prevent pain, discomfort, and complications.
Harder foods should be avoided because they can become trapped in the recovering areas of your mouth. Firm or sharp foods can also damage or even dislodge the blood clot(s), leading to dry socket formation.
If the blood clot dislodges before the wound heals, underlying bone and nerves can become exposed. A dry socket requires emergency dental treatment.
Here are the top 10 foods to eat after wisdom teeth removal:
Blended soups are easy to eat and don’t contain pieces that could irritate the surgical site. For example, tomato or pumpkin soup.
Additionally, soups are typically rich in vitamins and minerals. This helps you meet the daily nutrition recommendations when you can’t eat many whole fruits or vegetables.
Blended soups can also keep you hydrated. This is important following surgery.
Make sure your soups are either lukewarm or cold. Hot soups can cause irritation. You should also blend vegetable soups well to avoid chunks.
Broths are also an excellent source of nutrition after wisdom tooth surgery. They contain a variety of vitamins and minerals. Likewise, broths help you stay hydrated.
Bone broth is a type of broth renowned for its health benefits. It is made by simmering animal bones and connective tissue.
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While there are no direct studies on the health effects of bone broth, research on the components of bone broth shows it may have anti-inflammatory benefits.2
Be sure to consume broths either lukewarm or cold to avoid irritating the extraction site.
Greek yogurt is a nutritious and high-protein food that is easy to eat following wisdom teeth surgery. It provides a creamy and smooth texture that can help soothe and numb the mouth.
Greek yogurt is rich in protein, minerals, and vitamins like calcium and zinc.
High protein foods also help the recovery process. Some studies have linked a low-protein diet to a slower recovery.4
Additionally, studies show that zinc may promote wound healing. However, if you are already consuming enough zinc, taking more may not provide any extra benefits.
It’s essential to consider that many zinc-rich foods can be challenging to eat following dental surgery. For example, steak and other meats. Greek yogurt can be an excellent alternative.
Potatoes are a root vegetable. They can be prepared in many ways.
Mashed potatoes, in particular, can be a comforting food after having wisdom teeth removed. They are rich in calories and nutrients, which are essential for recovery.
Patients have slightly higher energy requirements following surgery. Mashed potatoes enable you to consume plenty of nutrients and energy in just a few bites. This is helpful if you are struggling to eat enough food.
Scrambled eggs are easier to chew and swallow than fried eggs.
Eggs are also a source of high-quality protein. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats.
When purchasing eggs, look for pasteurized or omega-3-enriched varieties. Omega-3 fats may help with wound healings.5
Apples are hard and crunchy. This is not ideal after having your wisdom teeth removed.
However, eating applesauce is one way to increase your fruit intake while avoiding irritation.
Applesauce is made from pureed apples, which are typically skinless and cored. This can reduce their nutritional content. The skin contains many vitamins, minerals, and fibers.
Despite this, a skinless apple is an excellent source of vitamin C. This vitamin helps boost the immune system and aids in wound healing.6
The soft texture of bananas makes them easy to chew and swallow after wisdom teeth removal.
Mashing bananas can soften the texture even more.
Bananas are also very nutritious and provide a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, including:
Smoothies are an excellent way to boost your health when you cannot eat a solid meal. They are easy to drink and are highly versatile.
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You can change the ingredients in smoothies to suit your tastes and meet your nutrition goals. For example, smoothies with protein powder or Greek yogurt can help with recovery.3
You can also add some fruit and vegetables with your choice of protein.
It is best to use seedless fruit. Be sure to avoid fruits like strawberries and blackberries during recovery.
Hummus is an excellent soft-food option after wisdom teeth removal. It’s full of healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and plant protein.
You can buy pre-made hummus from most supermarkets. Or, make it at home by blending the following in a food processor:
Don’t eat hummus with chips or pita bread. Their crunchy texture can damage the extraction site.
Salmon is one of the healthiest fish you can eat. This flaky fish is also excellent to eat after wisdom teeth removal because it's soft and easy to chew.
Wild-caught salmon is high in protein and healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids.
These fats may help with wound healing by reducing inflammation. This is especially if you already have low omega-3 fatty acid levels.
While inflammation is essential for wound healing, excess inflammation can affect recovery if it lasts too long.7
Foods to avoid for at least a week following wisdom tooth extraction include:
For the first 24 to 48 hours following wisdom teeth extraction, eat only soft foods like:
Cold foods can help with discomfort. As you begin to feel better, try introducing more solid foods.
On the third day following surgery, try foods such as:
Gradually continue to increase your consumption of solid foods if chewing does not cause any pain.
If you experience any pain when chewing, go back to eating soft and semi-soft foods.
Many people can resume normal eating within a week.
It’s best to take a day or two off work after having wisdom teeth removed. You’ll need a sick note from your doctor or dentist.1
You can drive immediately following wisdom teeth removal if a local anesthetic was used. However, avoid driving for at least 24 hours if a sedative was used and 48 hours if a general anesthetic was used.
Don't exercise strenuously for a few days following wisdom tooth removal.
Also, avoid smoking tobacco for at least 72 hours and chewing tobacco for at least a week. Tobacco can severely increase the risk of complications.
Lastly, don’t drink alcohol for a minimum of 48 hours to prevent postoperative bleeding.
Recovery, Wisdom tooth removal, National Health Service England (NHS), May 2021
Zhong, Zhi et al. “L-Glycine: a novel antiinflammatory, immunomodulatory, and cytoprotective agent.” Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care vol. 6,2 (2003): 229-40
Russell, L. “The importance of patients' nutritional status in wound healing.” British journal of nursing (Mark Allen Publishing) vol. 10,6 Suppl (2001): S42, S44-9
Lansdown, Alan B G et al. “Zinc in wound healing: theoretical, experimental, and clinical aspects.” Wound repair and regeneration : official publication of the Wound Healing Society [and] the European Tissue Repair Society vol. 15,1 (2007): 2-16
McDaniel, Jodi C et al. “Omega-3 fatty acids effect on wound healing.” Wound repair and regeneration : official publication of the Wound Healing Society [and] the European Tissue Repair Society vol. 16,3 (2008): 337-45
Moores, Jane. “Vitamin C: a wound healing perspective.” British journal of community nursing vol. Suppl (2013): S6, S8-11
Tipton, Kevin D. “Nutritional Support for Exercise-Induced Injuries.” Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.) vol. 45 Suppl 1 (2015): S93-104