Foods To Eat (& Avoid) After Wisdom Teeth Removal

Inside: What are the best foods to eat after wisdom teeth removal? Here’s a day-by-day list of what to eat (and what to avoid), so you’re prepared.

A pear, fruit cup, applesauce, and banana, all good foods to eat after wisdom teeth removal
Very soft fruit, applesauce, and canned fruit are easy on a sensitive mouth

When my son got all four wisdom teeth removed recently, I had an embarrassing flashback to when he had braces put on years earlier.

What both had in common: I knew for months it was coming but was somehow caught flat-footed.

As he was sleeping off the general anesthesia on the couch, I was ringing the oral surgeon’s office with questions, dashing to the store to fetch various foods and drinks, and wondering why I wasn’t better prepared. Again!

So if wisdom teeth extraction is on the horizon for your kid, I wanted to share helpful information on the right foods to eat (and avoid) the days and weeks after surgery, so at least you’ll be ready.

​Why it matters

Because wisdom tooth removal is a dental surgery, it involves a healing process and a recovery period. The body needs nutrients and hydration–but you have to take care to let the surgical sites heal. A common complication is dry socket, a painful condition that happens when blood clots either don’t form or come out before the area has healed. The nerves can end up exposed, which is incredibly unpleasant (I had dry socket when I got my wisdom teeth out in my 20s and it was awful!).

TIP: Hydration is important, but don’t serve drinks with straws for the first few days. Drinking through a straw creates a suction in the mouth that can dislodge the blood clots that are forming.

What to Eat After Wisdom Tooth Removal

Here are good options for each day of recovery, plus the two weeks after wisdom teeth surgery. (Always follow your oral surgeon’s advice and instructions for types of foods to eat and what to avoid. These ideas are just suggestions that worked for us.)

A glass of Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Shake sits on a wood table
A mostly liquid diet feels best the day of surgery

The day of surgery

Chances are, your child will be groggy, tired, and not in the mood to eat or drink very much. Their throat may also be sore. So mostly liquid foods and drinks are best.

What to have:

  • Yogurt (regular and Greek yogurt)
  • Yogurt drinks & kefir
  • Pudding (avoid chia or rice pudding right now; here’s a recipe for smooth Chocolate Tofu Pudding)
  • Smoothies & protein shakes, like my Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Shake
  • Broth such as chicken, beef, or veggie
  • Smooth applesauce (no chunks or pieces of peel)
  • Ice cream or “Nice Cream” (frozen bananas blended in blender or food processor)
  • Popsicles (our faves are Outshine Fruit Bars)
  • Jell-O
  • Ginger ale in case of nausea

TIP: My son used our Zoku Slush & Shake Maker to make slushies the first few days after surgery. You can put juice, lemonade, soda, and other beverages in it.

What to avoid:

  • Very hot beverages and food, which can be irritating on surgical sites
  • Foods and drinks with small pieces in them
  • Hard, crunchy foods that can injure the extraction site, like popcorn, chips, nuts, and seeds
  • Spicy foods
  • Foods with seeds and small grains that could get stuck in wounds

TIP: Protein helps the body heal. You can boost your child’s protein intake by including foods and drinks like milk, yogurt (especially Greek yogurt), protein powder added to foods like smoothies, oatmeal, and pancakes, and pudding made with milk.

The day after surgery

You’ll want to stick to a very soft food diet. Your child may still be in pain and not up for much chewing. Very soft foods and foods with a creamy texture will feel good.

What to have:

  • Anything from Day 1
  • Mashed potatoes 
  • Cottage cheese
  • Mashed/blended beans
  • Blended soups or cream soups with no pieces or chunks (warm, not hot)
  • Hummus (no raw veggies or pita yet)

What to avoid:

  • Foods and drinks with small pieces in them 
  • Hard, crunchy foods that can injure the extraction site like popcorn, chips, nuts, and seeds
  • Spicy foods
  • Very hot foods and beverages, which can be irritating to the surgical area
  • Foods with seeds and small grains that could get stuck in wounds

TIP: To quickly make a small portion of mashed potatoes, peel and cube two russet potatoes. Place in a microwave-safe dish loosely covered with a lid. Microwave for 8-9 minutes or until soft when pierced with knife or fork. Blend with an immersion blender or hand mixer while adding milk, butter, and/or sour cream, plus salt, until smooth.

Mashed potatoes in a bowl
A bowl of mashed potatoes is a nice comfort food on day 2

Day 3

On the third day, your child will probably feel a lot better but it’s best to stick to soft meals and foods that require minimal chewing. Your child’s jaw may still ache too.

What to have:

  • Anything from Day 1 and Day 2
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Soft-cooked veggies
  • Tofu
  • Oatmeal (either homemade or instant oatmeal)
  • Soft-cooked pasta
  • Mac-n-cheese
  • Baked potatoes (either sweet potatoes or white potatoes)
  • Pancakes (try my Protein Pancakes)
  • Ripe banana
  • Canned fruit
  • PB&J (use a thin layer of peanut butter so it’s not super-sticky and avoid hard crusts of bread)

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Healthy Meals and Snacks For Kids With Braces

What to avoid:

  • Very chewy foods
  • Crunchy, hard foods that can injure the extraction site like popcorn, chips, nuts, seeds, and crunchy crusts of bread
  • Spicy foods
  • Foods with seeds and small grains that could get stuck in wounds

Next Two Weeks

Your child can eat a lot more foods, but you’ll still want to default to semi-soft foods that don’t require lots of chewing. Their mouth may still be sensitive, and their surgical sites are still healing.

​What to have:

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
By day 3, your kid may be ready for soft meals like mac-n-cheese

What to avoid:

  • Raw, crunchy vegetables like whole baby carrots
  • Chewy, crusty bread (like baguettes)
  • Crunchy snacks like potato chips and tortilla chips with sharp edges
  • Spicy foods
  • Foods with seeds and small grains that could get stuck in the extraction area

After that, your child will probably be able to resume a regular diet with their favorite normal foods if it feels okay. But you can also stick to semi-soft, easy to chew foods for another week.

Other helpful things to have on hand

  • Frozen Ice packs
  • Extra gauze
  • Ibuprofen and Extra Strength Tylenol (or whatever type of over-the-counter pain reliever the surgeon recommends)
  • Warm compresses (moist, warm heat can help swelling after the first two days)

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