Children can require oral surgery for a wide range of reasons, including tooth extractions, root canals, repairing dental injuries and trauma, and fixing jaw misalignments. Although oral surgery helps to treat these problems and relieve their symptoms, recovering from any procedure can come with pain and discomfort of its own. Your child’s oral surgeon will give you a full list of instructions to help minimize any pain after surgery and help the recovery process.
To ensure a smooth recovery and positive outcome, it’s important to follow all instructions, including eating the right foods and avoiding the wrong ones. Because oral surgery is performed in the mouth, it will definitely impact the foods that can be eaten. After oral surgery, the mouth is often tender and sore, limiting the ability to bite, chew, and swallow food.
Here is a guide for soft foods that can help after oral surgery, as well as foods to avoid, when to resume eating normal foods, and tips for overall recovery.
Soft Foods to Eat After Oral Surgery
After oral surgery, it’s important for children to eat soft foods that can help the mouth heal properly. Soft foods that dentists and oral surgeons recommend for children to eat after oral surgery include:
- Other very smooth fruit puree
- Mashed potatoes or mashed sweet potatoes
- Other cooked and mashed vegetables such as carrots or squash
- Cream of wheat
- Soft pasta
- Soft rice
- Soft fruits such as bananas or peaches
- Fruit smoothies
- Ice cream, italian ice, or frozen yogurt
Always serve foods warm, room temperature, or cold. Cold foods can help to numb the mouth and reduce swelling on a temporary basis.
Your oral surgeon or dentist should provide a list of recommended foods for your child’s specific procedure as well. When in doubt, ask your oral surgeon if a certain food is right for your child.
Getting Enough Protein During Oral Surgery Recovery
Protein is an important part of a healthy diet, promoting muscle and bone growth, brain activity, and healing. During recovery for oral surgery, getting enough protein can have a positive impact on the healing process. However, because high protein foods, such as meat, often require chewing, it can be difficult to get enough of it after an oral surgery procedure.
To ensure your child gets enough protein when recovering from oral surgery, try the following soft but still protein-rich foods:
- Scrambled eggs
- Greek yogurt
- Protein shakes and smoothies
- Macaroni and cheese
- Cottage or soft cheeses, such as brie
Some younger patients may not be recommended to drink protein shakes. Ask your doctor or dentist if it is ok for your child.
Avoid These Foods That Delay Healing
It’s important to avoid hard, crunchy, or sticky foods during recovery. These include:
- Chewy or hard candy
- Spicy foods
- High temperature foods
These foods can irritate or even damage the surgical site, delaying and disrupting the healing process. It’s also important to avoid hot or spicy foods that can cause discomfort or irritation in the mouth.
When Can You Eat Normally Again?
The time it takes for children to eat normally and resume eating restricted foods after oral surgery can vary depending on the type and extent of the surgery performed. In general, dentists usually recommend children avoid hard, crunchy, and sticky foods for at least seven to 10 days after the procedure while the mouth heals.
After this healing period, children may gradually resume eating normal foods as long as it does not cause discomfort or irritation to the surgical site. You should use caution and introduce foods slowly. Start with softer foods and gradually reintroduce harder foods as your child feels comfortable.
Tips and Best Practices for Oral Surgery Recovery
It’s important for children to continue to practice good oral hygiene during the healing period, including brushing gently around the surgical site and avoiding rinsing or spitting forcefully for the first 24 hours after surgery.
Follow the specific instructions provided by your oral surgeon or dentist regarding post-operative care and dietary restrictions. If you have any concerns or questions about your child’s recovery, don’t hesitate to reach out to their dental provider for guidance.
Keep Your Family’s Teeth Healthy with the Help of AC Pediatric Dentistry
Going to the dentist can be scary — we get it. But it should be fun! Whether it’s care for baby teeth, big kid teeth, oral surgery, or orthodontics, our team of specialized pediatric dentists make the experience memorable while teaching you how to encourage healthy habits and good hygiene for lifelong smiles. Call us today or request an appointment online. We can’t wait to meet you!