This post was originally published on June 21, 2018 and updated on May 10, 2019

The wisdom tooth removal surgery itself is not at all painful. However, there can be some mild pain following the surgery, which is why you should be extra cautious about what you put in your mouth following the surgery. Certain foods and drinks can prolong healing, or even worse, lead to an infection.

But no need to worry. It is possible to have some variety in your diet and even enjoy a few meals you love after your wisdom tooth removal. To help you with your grocery list, we’ve compiled this list of foods you should avoid as well as some that are completely safe and full of all the vitamins and nutrients you need for a speedy recovery.

Before looking at foods that are safe, let’s first look at what you should stay away from. The reason some of your favorite snacks are on this list is because they can cause irritation or dry socket. Dry socket forms when a blood clot fails to develop in the space where your tooth was pulled. It’s important that a blood clot forms because it’s the foundation for new bone and tissue growth.

4 Foods to avoid after wisdom tooth extraction surgery.

red spicy peppers

1. Spicy and acidic foods

These foods can irritate the socket and sensitive tissue, causing pain and potential discomfort.

2. Hard, crunchy foods

Popcorn, pretzels, nuts, and other crunchy foods can not only cause damage, but also get caught in the empty tooth socket and disrupt the healing process, or worse, cause an infection.

3. Hot foods

Your mouth may still be numb, so hot foods can burn your mouth without you even feeling it.

4. Chewy foods

Chewy foods might cause you to bite your lips and cheeks while they’re still numb, which can cause damage without you knowing.

7 Foods you can eat after wisdom tooth extraction surgery.

soft serve ice cream in a dish

You probably saw some of your favorite foods on the list above. But before you start dreading those post-surgery meals, we made a list of soft, protein-rich foods that will help you heal, ease discomfort, and satisfy your cravings.

1. Ice cream

Ice cream is soft and cold, which will help to soothe the inflamed tissue. Bonus: it’s delicious.

2. Yogurt and cottage cheese

Yogurt and cottage cheese – without pieces of fruit – are easy to eat and have plenty of protein and calcium.

3. Applesauce and fruit smoothies

Applesauce and fruit smoothies have natural vitamins you may miss with the absence of crunchy vegetables and grains. But if you do go for a smoothie, avoid using a straw since the suction can disrupt blood clot formation and lead to dry socket.

4. Scrambled eggs

Scrambled eggs are high in protein, soft, and can be seasoned to your liking.

5. Soft fish and finely-cut meat

Soft fish and meat cut into pieces small enough to chew are not only full of protein but also help you get a full meal.

6. Mashed potatoes and oatmeal

Mashed potatoes that are extra whipped with butter or gravy are super soft and tasty. Oatmeal is also soft and hearty enough to keep you full.

7. Blended or clear soup

You’ll still want to get your vegetables in, so the best way to add them to your diet is to blend them into a soup.

Have more questions about wisdom tooth removal?

Check out our blog post on everything you need to know about wisdom tooth extraction surgery.