Wisdom teeth are also known as third molars.
They grow at the back of the gums and are typically the last teeth to emerge.
Most people have four wisdom teeth, one that grows in each corner of the mouth.
Because there’s little space at the back of the mouth, wisdom teeth may develop at odd angles or only partly emerge. These are called impacted wisdom teeth.
Impacted wisdom teeth can cause a variety of problems. They may get infected, damage neighboring teeth, cause crowding or start to decay because they are hard to clean (1).
People often get their wisdom teeth removed to solve these problems. However, wisdom teeth do not need to be removed unless they cause problems.
After you’ve had your wisdom teeth removed, it’s very important to ensure you’re getting the right nutrition. A nutritious diet minimizes the risk of complications, helps reduce swelling, provides nourishment and aids the wound-healing process.
The foods you eat after surgery should be soft and easy to chew. They should also be abundant in vitamins, minerals, energy and protein to assist wound healing.
Here are 15 soft foods you should eat after having your wisdom teeth removed.
1. Blended Soups
Blended soups like tomato or pumpkin soup are great to eat after you’ve had your wisdom teeth removed.
They are easy to consume and do not contain bits that could irritate the area of surgery.
In addition, soups are generally rich in vitamins and minerals. This helps ensure you meet the daily nutrition recommendations when you cannot eat many whole fruits or vegetables.
Blended soups can also keep you hydrated, which is very important after surgery.
It’s wise to ensure your soups are either lukewarm or cold, as hot soups can cause irritation. Also, make sure to blend vegetable-based soups as smooth as possible to avoid chunks.
Like soups, broths are an excellent source of nourishment after dental surgery.
Not only are they delicious, 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 that is made by simmering animal bones and connective tissue.
Make sure to consume the broth either lukewarm or cold to avoid irritating the wound.
Greek yogurt is a healthy high-protein food you can enjoy after dental surgery.
It has a smooth and creamy texture that is quite soothing and may help numb the mouth.
Greek yogurt is rich in protein, vitamins and minerals such as calcium and zinc (4).
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.
Potatoes are a versatile root vegetable that can be prepared in many ways.
Specifically, mashed potatoes can be a comforting food after you’ve had your wisdom tooth removed. They’re rich in calories and nutrients, which are both important for recovery (10).
This is because people have slightly higher energy requirements after having surgery.
Just make sure that your mashed potatoes are lukewarm or cold, as hot foods may irritate the wound.
Eggs are among the best foods to eat after having your wisdom teeth out.
They are a source of high-quality protein and abundant in vitamins and minerals.
When it comes to buying eggs, try to find pasteurized or omega-3-enriched varieties. They tend to have more omega-3 fats, which may aid wound healing (12).
Scrambled eggs can be easier to chew and swallow, compared to other types of eggs.
Apples are hard and crunchy, which is not ideal after having your wisdom teeth removed.
Luckily, eating applesauce is one way to increase your fruit intake while avoiding irritation.
However, it is usually made from puréed apples, which are typically skinless and cored, which reduces their nutritional content. This is because the skin contains many vitamins, minerals and fiber.
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 (15).
Mashing bananas can further soften their texture to reduce the risk of discomfort.
People often recommend eating ice cream when you’re recovering from wisdom tooth surgery, but it’s not a nutritious choice.
While the coldness may have a soothing effect on the wound, ice cream is typically high in sugar, making it very unhealthy.
Banana ice cream is a healthy and delicious homemade alternative to regular ice cream.
How to Make Banana Ice Cream
- 3–4 bananas
- A splash of milk
- Place bananas in the freezer for 3–4 hours or overnight.
- Cut the frozen bananas into slices.
- Place the frozen bananas into a blender and add a splash of milk. If you are lactose intolerant or vegan, you can use almond milk instead.
- Blend the mixture until it 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 out.
Avocados are very nutritious and a rich source of vitamin K, vitamin C and potassium (16).
Interestingly, an animal study found that avocados may speed up the wound-healing process. Although this research does not indicate whether avocados speed wound healing in humans, the findings are promising (17).
While avocados are usually easy to eat, whipped or mashed avocado may be easier to consume during your recovery.
Smoothies are a great way to boost your nutrition when you struggle to eat a solid meal.
They are easy to consume and highly versatile, as 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 powdercan boost your protein intake significantly, which is important for recovery.
Try adding some fruit and vegetables into the blender alongside your choice of protein.
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 (18).
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.
Cottage cheese is low in calories and packed with vitamins and minerals (19).
It’s soft and creamy, which makes it easy to chew and swallow as you’re recovering from wisdom tooth surgery.
Cottage cheese is also easy to incorporate into your diet. Try adding it to scrambled eggs or into your smoothies.
Oats are among the healthiest foods on the planet.
They are filling, a good source of fiber and loaded with vitamins and minerals (20).
Oats do have a slightly chewy and sticky texture, so it’s best to wait to consume them until at least three days after having your wisdom teeth removed.
It’s also best to opt for instant oatmeal because it is 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.
Pumpkin is a popular autumn vegetable that is great to eat after you’ve had your wisdom teeth removed.
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 (21).
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 is soft and easy to chew.
Salmon is a rich source of protein and healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids(24).
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 (25).
Foods to Avoid
Several types of foods can irritate the wounds in your mouth as they’re healing after surgery.
Here are some foods to avoid after wisdom tooth removal.
- Spicy foods: May cause pain and irritation.
- Crunchy and crumbly foods: Foods like chips and cookies may get lodged in the wound area and disrupt healing.
- Most grains and seeds: Can also get lodged in the wound and disrupt healing.
- Chewy foods: Can increase your risk of biting your cheek, lips and tongue, especially soon after the surgery while your senses are still numb.
- Alcohol: Avoid alcohol during the recovery period after wisdom tooth removal. It may irritate the wound or interact with any prescribed medication.
It’s also important to avoid using a straw while you recover from wisdom tooth removal. Straws create suction in the mouth that increases the risk of developing a dry socket.
A dry socket is a painful condition in which the clot that was protecting the area where the tooth was removed becomes dislodged. As a result, the underlying bones and nerves are exposed to air, which causes pain and delays healing (26).
The Bottom Line
If you’ve just had your wisdom teeth removed, it’s important to choose nutrient-rich and soft-textured foods.
Healthy, soft foods not only support recovery but also help prevent discomfort.
Excellent foods to eat after wisdom teeth removal include smoothies, soup and broths, Greek yogurt, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, apple purée, bananas, banana ice cream, cottage cheese, instant oatmeal, mashed or puréed pumpkin and salmon.
If you’re having your wisdom teeth removed soon, it may be worthwhile to stock your cupboard with these delicious foods to make sure you’ll stay nourished and satisfied after surgery.