Reviewed by Dr. Jason Fluckiger, DMD

Reading Time: 6  minutes

If you are scheduled for wisdom teeth removal, it’s likely that you’ve asked this question: What can I eat after wisdom teeth extraction? Don’t worry-you won’t starve! There are plenty of soft food options to fill your belly and keep you satisfied during the recovery period.

In this blog post, we’ll briefly explain the procedure so that you can understand why it’s so important to be careful with what you eat after surgery.  We’ll go over the foods you can and can’t eat and provide some helpful tips to make your recovery as smooth as possible.

Bonus! A shopping list is included to make preparing for surgery easy!

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

After wisdom teeth extraction, eat soft foods like yogurt, mashed potatoes, cottage cheese and broth. Avoid hard and crunchy foods like crackers, popcorn and chips. Do not use a straw, smoke or vape. Brush your teeth after every meal and rinse with salt water.

Wisdom Tooth Removal Procedure

The details of the procedure will vary slightly depending on your wisdom teeth. If they have not erupted yet, meaning they are still below the gum tissue, your oral surgeon will make a small incision into your gums to access the wisdom tooth.

If your wisdom teeth have already erupted, they are extracted like any other tooth. However, if they are impacted or causing problems with neighboring teeth, a more complex procedure may be necessary.

Once the tooth is extracted, there will be a bony hole or socket where the tooth once was. A blood clot forms in this socket which protects the nerves and bone. Stitches bring the gum tissue back together, and the healing process begins!

Be careful around the surgical areas when eating and brushing. If the blood clot becomes dislodged, you will experience a painful condition called dry socket. 

Dry Socket

The stitches do a good job of holding the gum tissue together and keeping the blood clot safe, but if you aren’t careful, the blood clot can still become dislodged. With the blood clot gone, the bone and nerves are now exposed. As you can imagine, this causes a lot of pain and discomfort.

So, how can you prevent dry socket?  Anything that causes suction in your mouth can dislodge a clot. Avoid smoking anything of any kind, vaping, and drinking through a straw.  You should also avoid spitting, aggressive rinsing, and using a waterpik. Treat your mouth with a lot of kindness, and remember that it’s working hard to heal itself.

Still have questions about dry socket? Read Dry Socket-What Is It and How To Avoid It.

Foods to Eat After Wisdom Teeth Extraction

In the days following surgery, soft food is your friend!

Soft foods help protect the surgical sites and allow for easier chewing and swallowing. Your mouth will be sore, so the last thing you want is to irritate it with hard or crunchy foods.

Here are some soft and nutrient-rich foods to enjoy:

  1. Ice cream and frozen yogurt: A cold treat can help to numb any discomfort and reduce swelling around the extraction sites. Choose a smooth variety without any chunks or nuts for optimal comfort. 
  2. Mashed potatoes: Warm (not hot) mashed potatoes are soft and easy to eat, providing essential nutrients and energy for your body to heal.
  3. Cottage cheese: This high-protein option can be mixed with fruit to keep meals interesting and deliver essential vitamins and minerals.
  4. Bone broths and soups: Hearty, warm, and easy to eat, soups and broths provide essential nutrients and hydration during recovery.
  5. Puddings and custards: Smooth, creamy desserts help satisfy your sweet tooth without causing irritation or strain at the extraction sites.
  6. Protein powder shakes: Mix your favorite protein powder with milk, non-dairy milk, or water for a quick and easy protein boost.
  7. Pureed fruits and vegetables: Options like applesauce and mashed bananas are convenient, healthy choices.
  8. Smoothies: Blend up your favorite fruits and veggies with yogurt, milk, or water for a tasty and nutritious meal. But remember: no straw!

Avoid spicy and acidic foods as they may cause irritation during the initial recovery process. Transition to solid foods as you are able, usually about two weeks after surgery. If you feel pain when chewing or biting down, stick to softer foods for a bit longer.

Foods to Avoid After Wisdom Teeth Removal

Just as important as knowing what to eat is understanding what not to eat. Here are some foods that should be avoided during the recovery process:

  1. Crunchy foods: Foods like chips, popcorn, and nuts can irritate or become lodged within the surgical sites and dislodge the blood clots.
  2. Chewy foods: Sticky or chewy foods like gum, toffee, and caramels could pull at your stitches and cause unnecessary discomfort.
  3. Spicy food: Spices may cause inflammation and aggravate the sensitive extraction areas, prolonging your recovery process.
  4. Acidic foods: Citrus fruits and other acidic foods can irritate the extraction sites, causing discomfort.

Practical Tips for Pre-Surgery Meal Prep

  1. Batch cook soft foods: Prepare large batches of recommended soft foods like mashed potatoes, soups, and pureed fruits. Store them in portion-sized containers in the refrigerator or freezer.
  2. Easy-to-prepare snacks: Stock up on snacks that require minimal preparation, such as yogurt, cottage cheese, and applesauce.
  3. Hydration station: Set up a hydration station with water, herbal teas, and broths within easy reach to remind yourself to stay hydrated.
  4. Post-surgery meal plan: Create a simple meal plan for the first week post-surgery. This plan should include when and what you’ll eat, taking the guesswork out of meal times.

Tips for a Comfortable Recovery

  1. Stay hydrated: Proper hydration is important to promote healing, avoid nausea, and maintain overall health.
  2. Practice good oral hygiene: Good oral hygiene is important now more than ever! You want to decrease the number of bacteria to minimize risk of infection so brush your teeth after every meal and rinse with salt water. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt with 1 cup of warm water.  Gently rinse and allow the water to dribble out when you finish.
  3. Rest and relax: Your body needs rest to heal properly, so take it easy for a few days after surgery. Avoid strenuous activities that increase your blood pressure and heart rate which could cause bleeding or swelling.
  4. Use ice packs: Apply an ice pack to your face in 20-minute increments; 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off. Do this several times a day for the first 48 hours. This helps minimize how much swelling occurs.
  5. Take pain medication as prescribed: Your surgeon may prescribe pain medication to help manage any discomfort during recovery. Be sure to follow their instructions carefully, and do not exceed the recommended dosage.

For more tips, read Tips for a Speedy Recovery After Oral Surgery.

Shopping List for Easy Meal Planning

Stock up on these items before your surgery so you don’t have to run out shopping while you’re in recovery mode:

  • Broth: chicken, beef or vegetable
  • Jell-O and/or pudding cups
  • Ice cream or frozen yogurt
  • Applesauce
  • Frozen fruit for smoothies
  • Instant oatmeal packets
  • Cream of wheat or cream of rice
  • Soft fruits such as bananas, melons and berries (just beware of small seeds)
  • Gelatin cups (Jell-O)
  • Cottage cheese
  • Yogurt (avoid any with seeds or crunchy bits)

Recovery Effectively: Tips From The Pros

Wisdom teeth removal doesn’t have to be a painful and uncomfortable experience. With proper care and attention, you can heal like a pro!

Our oral surgeons at AZ Max Oral Surgery are here to support you throughout your wisdom teeth removal process. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We want to ensure you have a smooth and comfortable recovery. Remember: treat your mouth with kindness, and it will heal in no time!

If you are scheduled for surgery in the coming days, make sure to read our post-operative instructions and 8 Things You Need To Do Before Anesthesia.

If you are searching for ‘wisdom teeth extraction near me’ or ‘oral surgeon in Mesa AZ’, call AZ Max Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons at (480) 830-5866 or complete the online booking form. We look forward to welcoming you at one of our five locations!