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Soft Foods for Oral Surgery Patients: 1800Dentist.com

If despite your best dental care efforts are you suffering from conditions such as wisdom teeth discomfort, facial pain or TMJ? If you answered yes, odds are that oral surgery may be in your future and if so, eating the right foods after the dental treatments will allow for a speedy and full recovery.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons are the specialist in the fields of diagnosis disease and performing intricate work on the mouth, teeth, jaws and face.  Specialists in the fields are trained to conduct a myriad of tasks including facial cosmetic surgery, affixing dental implants and caring for patients afflicted with oral cancer, tumors and jawbone cysts.  While every surgery is unique based on the circumstances, the fact is regardless of the type of work, patients will need time to recover and eating a proper diet is essential to the equation. While most dental care professionals may simply encourage recovering patients to simply eat a diet of "soft foods" choosing the most nutritious options can help lower gum inflammation and speed up the recovery process.

Oral surgery can run from the mundane (tooth extraction of impacted wisdom teeth) to the dramatic (providing dental implants to a victim of domestic violence) and each type of surgery will leave a person feeling drained, exhausted and with a swollen mouth. For each specific dental treatment delivered, a dentist will provide a list of oral hygiene instructions to ensure the wounds stay clean and heal properly. Some general eating guidelines typically include instructions such as avoid eating extremely hot or cold foods for at least 24 hours after the work, skipping using a straw (as the suction action can increase the risk of bleeding) and eating a diet of soft foods to avoid excess chewing. Choosing the right soft foods (as opposed to the empty calories in carbohydrate rich soft food staples such as Jell-O and pudding) can help aid in the recovery process.

Dairy

For decades dairy foods (items such as cheese, yogurt and milk) have long been promoted as being some of the best foods for dental health and for good reason. The foods are naturally high in bone building calcium and are rich in vitamins and minerals. There are thousands of diary foods that easily be classified as soft foods, but when it comes to the best options for oral surgery patients low-fat and unsweetened yogurts, skim milk and cottage cheese are the best choice.

Various studies have analyzed the dental health benefits of dairy consumption; Japanese researchers have found that children who ate plain yogurt at least four times a week reduced their chances of developing tooth decay by around 22 percent and a separate team found that eating the right dairy food lowers occurrences of gum disease in adults. The hypothesis derived from the studies have indicated that the right dairy foods can help create a healthier balance of oral bacteria (the microscopic critters that form dental plaque and cause cavities and tooth decay) and help reduce gum inflammation, both of which are essential to ensure a full rebound from surgery. Although it may be tempting to eat soft dairy foods such as ice cream, puddings and custard, those foods are high in sugar (the favorite meal of oral bacteria that can potential inhibit the recovery process).


Lean Protein

Within the human body proteins are a vital component for biological functions as the compounds are essential for virtually every cell process and are a part of every organism.  There are plenty of options for the food source; the Government's Nutrition Plate lists foods such as nuts, lean meats, beans, tofu and eggs. Making sure to include these foods are also essential to speeding recovery times as protein helps cells!

There are countless varieties of lean protein that can be eaten to help with the recovery process ranging. Some options include scrambled eggs (cooled to room temperature), nut butters such as peanut and almond and bean dips. Individuals who prefer to have their meat and eat it too can also eat meats such as chicken, fish (rich in Omega 3) and lean beef to get the proper protein amounts. No matter what option is used spices should be kept at the minimum at this stage of the game and if need be, foods can be put in a blender to be given the consistence of soft food.

When it comes to lean proteins and recovery surgery, processed meats should not be an option. While hot dogs, baloney, bacon and fast food burgers and nuggets can also be converted to soft foods in a blender, processed meats (animal byproducts that have been mixed, reshaped and flavored) are the least health options available. This category of processed foods are known for being high in fat, sugars, salts and chemical preservatives all of which can inhibit recovery as well as increase the risk of developing health issues such as heart disease and diabetes.

Nature's Fluid

Chances are, after the oral surgery is complete, chewing any food will not be an option due to pain or swelling. Despite that, it is essential that body fluid levels stay intact to ensure proper healing and to avoid dehydration. In this case, the right liquids can be a person best friend and water, diluted fruit juices (to lower sugar), vegetable juices and caffeine free green tea will do the job well.

Water should be the number one beverage choice for patients who are healing. Fresh water can help moisten a mouth (thus reducing post surgery bad breath), wash away food particles and sugars that can lead to tooth decay and may even contain a dose of fluoride for good measure.  Juices that contain 100 percent fruit or vegetables will provide a nutritional boost and deliver the important calories to provide the energy for recovery. Caffeine free green tea is rich with antioxidants, polyphenols and catechins and has been proven to fight cancer, prevent heart disease and can improve oral health by fighting gum disease.

Individuals are encouraged to skip the soda at this point for many reasons. Carbonation,  the little bubbles present in sodas, can irritate the areas impacted by oral surgery. Regular soda is devoid of any nutritional content and will only fuel a body with sugar and calories. While diet soda may be devoid of the latter, the beverage is highly acidic and can contribute to dental problems including tooth erosion.

Ultimately, whole foods are the best types of food to help aid in the recovery process of any oral surgery. That includes countless options included potatoes, apples, bananas and more. The key to converting these guys to the right soft foods to help speed up recovery is to keep preparation simple (bake a potato, not fry it), make sure the foods are room temperature and anything too crunchy or big to eat can easily be chopped up in a blender and eaten with a spoon.

Individuals looking for more healthy soft food options should feel free to ask their dentist or oral surgeon directly. Those in need of finding a dental care provider can call 1-800-DENTIST, 24/7 and get the name of a skilled professional up to the task.

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