What to Eat After Wisdom Teeth Removal

Oct 20, 2019 | Patient Care

What to Eat After Wisdom Teeth Removal

Wisdom teeth aren’t always a problem for everyone. However, for most people, wisdom teeth mean a great deal of pain and additional dental issues. When your dentist recommends wisdom tooth removal, there is likely no room for the teeth to come in, which will cause alignment issues. Or you are already experiencing discomfort. Whatever the reason may be, if this is the first oral surgery, you probably have questions, including what to eat after wisdom teeth removal. 

Wisdom teeth, or any tooth that is impacted, will need to be surgically removed. Your dentist will give you post-operative instructions as to how to care for the wound, and what you should and shouldn’t do. You must follow these instructions. Oral surgery is serious, and complications can arise, the most significant being an infection. 

Key Takeaways

  • Follow post-operative instructions from your dentist for caring for the wound and reducing complications.
  • Avoid using a straw or smoking to prevent dry socket.
  • Day 1: Stick to liquids like broth, juice, and water, and avoid solid foods.
  • Day 2: Move on to soft foods like yogurt, pudding, jello, and soups, and avoid hot or cold foods.
  • Day 3-5: Continue with soft foods like pudding, jello, soup, applesauce, cream of wheat, oatmeal, and ice cream, avoiding overly crunchy foods.

What to expect from oral surgery

When your dentists remove wisdom teeth, they will need to cut them out. This is slightly different from a standard extraction. Wisdom teeth, because they are located in the back of the gum line, they are difficult to remove, making pulling them out, not a suitable solution. The dentist will make an incision into the gum, to gain full access to the tooth. Once the tooth is out, the cut will receive stitches, and a gauze pad will be placed. The gauze should remain in place for 30 minutes and then discarded. 

You should start taking medicine before the anesthesia wears off to reduce pain. There will be significant swelling over the first couple of days but will go away. You can expect there to be a fair amount of bleeding, and this completely normal and should stop after the first 24-48 hours.

What should you avoid?

One of the most frequently asked questions for dentists about wisdom tooth removal is what they should avoid doing. While you may want to stop certain activities such as brushing or flossing your teeth to avoid touching the area, you should continue good oral care habits starting the day after surgery. 

You should avoid using a straw. Suction is not recommended, as this can cause a dry socket. Your dentist will also recommend that if you are a smoker, that you should stop smoking. If you find it impossible to quit smoking, you should refrain for at least the first 48-hours following surgery. Similarly to using a straw, smoking can increase your chances of a dry socket.

5-day guide for what to eat following wisdom teeth removal

To ensure you have the best recovery possible for your wisdom tooth removal, you will want to follow the guidelines of what you should and shouldn’t eat the week following surgery. Keep in mind that the area will be extremely sore.  

Day 1

On the day of surgery, you will have a moderate amount of discomfort. It is likely you’ll be hungry but won’t want to eat. You should avoid solid foods altogether. Instead, stick to liquids like broth. It is essential that you get enough liquid in your diet, juice, and water are great options. You will want to avoid using a straw as this could cause a dry socket. Dry socket is when the blood clot that forms after surgery is dislodged. This condition can be excruciating. Sucking through a straw can cause the blood clot to come out.

Day 2

After 24 hours, moving on to soft foods is encouraged. You still will want to avoid anything hard, but you can eat items with some substance, including yogurt, pudding, jello, and soups. If possible, avoid the food sitting on the incision site. There will be a great deal of sensitivity, so avoid having overly hot or cold foods. 

Day 3

On day three, you will want to continue eating soft foods, including pudding, jello, soup, and applesauce. You can also incorporate mashed potatoes into your diet for a change of pace. However, you should let any hot food or drinks cool to room temperature. This will reduce the likelihood of causing discomfort. 

Day 4

Continuing with liquids and soft foods is crucial for the next two days. On day four, you can consume cream of wheat, oatmeal, and ice cream. Popsicles can also be eaten, but if you find that the cold of ice cream and popsicles to be uncomfortable, it might be best to avoid for the first few days. In general, many find the cold to be soothing for the swollen gums. 

Day 5

Day five is the last post-operative day, where you should still be having softer foods. Macaroni and cheese and eggs are great additions to the diet, that provide some nutrition and flavor, while still being easy to eat. You can now begin eating more substantial items. But you will even want to avoid overly crunchy foods. A great example would be tacos and nachos. The chips and shells can be too crunchy and injure the incision site. 

Day 6 and beyond

Starting day six and beyond, you will still want to be careful about what you eat and drink. Avoid overly hot or cold items for at least the first week. You may notice that around day six that there is less sensitivity, less swelling, and it is much easier to chew. However, you should avoid anything overly chewy. After eating, it is important to keep the teeth and gums clean. Using a soft bristle tooth gently cleanse the area. Your dentist will likely instruct you to do a saltwater rinse beginning on day 2. It is important not to be overly aggressive with the rinse and simply swoosh around your mouth. 


Oral surgery shouldn’t be taken lightly. Aftercare is a considerable part. Follow all your dentist’s instructions for taking care of the incision site and keeping the area clean. If you are in doubt about what to eat after wisdom teeth removal, it is best to speak to your dentist. However, if you follow these guidelines for the first five days, you will be well on your way to healing and have fewer chances of complications.

Eric Kitts, DDS

Eric Kitts, DDS

Owner @ Soundview Family Dental

Born in Seattle and raised in Puyallup, Dr. Eric Kitts received his undergraduate degree from Washington State University and his DDS from the University of Washington School of Dentistry. Dr. Kitts began practicing dentistry in 2000, at his office in Richmond Beach. In 2011, Dr. Kitts built a brand-new, state-of-the-art dental facility located in the heart of downtown Edmonds.

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