While we rarely enjoy going to the dentist, one of the most serious downsides is the subsequent pain and oral discomfort that comes along with dental procedures. Whether it’s due to recently pulled wisdom teeth, a cavity filling, new braces, or any other form of oral surgery, oral discomfort can be particularly challenging when it comes to eating and drinking.
However, you should not despair! There are plenty of tips out there for reducing oral discomfort (or outright pain) when eating, and we’re here to walk you through them. Continue reading on to see our 5 tips to avoid oral discomfort during eating after having a dental procedure.
1. Focus on Cold or Cool Foods and Drinks
Cold food and drinks is one of the oldest tricks in the book for avoid oral pain. If you’ve ever had your tonsils removed, or if your children have, you’ll probably recognize this very mom-like advice. While this might not seem as appealing to those of you living in cooler climates during the winter months, hear us out: this means you get to eat as much ice cream as you want!
The reason cold foods are a crucial eating habit for people who want to reduce oral discomfort is the simple fact that cold or cool foods and drinks can not only numb the more painful spots, but ease inflammation in the affected areas.
2. Steer Clear of Hard or Crunchy Foods
This might hurt to hear for those of you who are fans of cereal for breakfast, apples for lunch, and potato chips with dinner, but it’s best to avoid the foods that require more chewing or that can produce harder edges when broken up during the chewing process. This is especially important if your gums have become sensitive after the visit to the dentist; it’s no fun to have that piece of chip break off and scrape against the area of your gums right next to where that tooth was pulled.
Thankfully, there are plenty of soft foods out there for you to eat, which are what you should focus on. We suggested cold foods before, but once you’re past that phase of recovery, consider simple foods like oatmeal for breakfast and hearty soups for dinner. Your mouth will thank you for it!
3. Avoid Acidic Foods and Drinks
This is more important for those of you who have just gotten done with surgical wisdom tooth extraction or a tooth pulling, since those procedures tend to involve stitches with the former or even semi-open wounds with the latter. Anyone who has made the mistake of drinking a glass of orange juice the morning after getting their wisdom teeth extracted (or a glass of wine the night of) can tell you about the excruciating, stinging pain that went along with it.
Avoid citrus fruits and juices at all costs for one week, or at least until the wounds have healed appropriately. Spicy foods should also be avoided, so check the amount of pepper you’re adding to your foods for a few days. Similarly, alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine, and liquor should be avoided.
4. Try Smoothies
Provided they’re not full of citrus fruits, smoothies can be your best friend when recovering from oral surgery. This can be especially true if you pack it with softer, thicker foods like bananas, yogurt, milk, and lighter fruits like apples, pears, and peaches. Even better? Green vegetables, which provide a strong source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber to keep you fuller, longer — that means you won’t be tempted to eat more than is necessary, and thus, you’ll avoid irritating your mouth.
5. Stay Hydrated
While you should always be hydrating at a healthy level, some oral surgeries can lead to more suffering than necessary if you neglect to hydrate. Have you ever heard of the term “dry socket” when talking to someone about getting your wisdom teeth out? It can be extremely painful and can be easily avoided by drinking plenty of fluids (just not orange juice!) and even gently chewing some mild flavored mint gum, since that can produce saliva.
Experiencing oral discomfort following a visit to the dentist is no fun, but if you follow these 5 tips for avoiding pain while eating, you should be able to get through it with minimal disruption to your normal routine. If you keep them in mind if you need to get a tooth pulled, a cavity filled, or a shiny new pair of braces, you’ll be smiling again in no time!