What to Eat after Tooth Extraction

Woman pouring juice in kitchen

If you need a tooth removed, summer might just be the best time. The kids are off from school, so they won't have to miss a few days after having their wisdom teeth out. If you need to have a tooth extracted yourself, it's often easier to get time off during this season because business slows down and you're already more relaxed.

Once you've scheduled the surgery, you might wonder what to eat after tooth extraction. And as you might expect, soft foods are ideal during the first few days of recovery.

What to Eat

Eat: Ice Cream

Unless you have particularly sensitive teeth, ice cream tops of the list of what to eat after tooth extraction, especially in the summer. It's cool and soft, so you can eat it comfortably even when your mouth is tender. Because ice cream is cold, it can help minimize any natural swelling that occurs in the mouth.

Choose your ice cream with care, though. Soft serve is ideal right after surgery, since it doesn't require as much jaw muscle to eat. You'll also want to avoid any mix-ins or solid sprinkles along the top of the ice cream. Remember to pick a cup over a cone, too.

Eat: Cool Soup

Pureed, lukewarm or cool soups are also great to eat after a tooth's removal. It is summer time, however, so you might prefer a smooth gazpacho over a bowl of lukewarm broth. Soup is not only easy to eat after your surgery, but it also contains plenty of nutrients and, in some cases, protein, to help the muscles in your face feel better. To avoid any discomfort, make sure the soup is as smooth as possible before you eat it. A few small pieces of cooked vegetables or pasta in the soup should be manageable, but you want to avoid anything that will require a lot of chewing.

Eat: Smoothies

Fresh fruits tend to be at their peak in the summer. One of the best ways to enjoy them after you've had a tooth pulled is in smoothie form. Blend the fruits with some yogurt or kefir to add protein, calcium and probiotics to the drink. Adding yogurt or a similar type of dairy to the smoothie also helps it become less acidic, and less likely to irritate tender gums as a result.

Eat: Scrambled Eggs

As long as they aren't too hot, scrambled eggs are another good pick following a tooth extraction. They're gentle, high in protein and don't require much effort in the way of chewing when eating them.

What NOT to Eat

Avoid: Spicy and Acidic Foods

You may love adding a dab of hot sauce to the things you eat during the day, but after you have a tooth removed, the best thing to do is put the bottle down and play it "cool." If you've ever felt the burn of a hot pepper, you know that spicy foods can irritate your gums and mouth. And because outside irritation is the last thing you want while your mouth is healing, it's best to wait until your dentist gives you the all-clear before enjoying your favorite spices. Like spicy foods, acidic foods can irritate your mouth after a tooth extraction and should be avoided just the same.

Avoid: Crunchy Snacks

During the first week after your tooth is pulled, steer clear of crunch snacks, even those that may be cold or otherwise forgiving. Not only are they difficult to eat when your mouth is sore, but there's also the chance they'll break off and bits of them will get stuck in the socket. Stick to soft foods until your dentist tells you otherwise.

Straws and Other Concerns

As the U.S. National Library of Medicine notes, using a straw right after you have a tooth pulled causes a sucking motion that can increase your risk for developing dry socket. To minimize your risk for these complications, it's best to take small sips of cool beverages after surgery, without a straw.

To keep your mouth in good shape, it's usually OK to start brushing again the night after your extraction. But be as gentle as possible, sticking with a soft-bristled toothbrush such as Colgate® 360®, and avoid brushing near the area of the extraction.