You know what pain is if you’ve ever thought about biting an apple with braced teeth or trying to chew on a steak after difficult tooth extraction. Even after a relatively harmless tooth extraction, there are special nutritional rules. You are allowed very few foods to eat after oral surgery. Operations on the jaw and face require a particularly careful attitude towards oneself: damage to the seams, traumatization, and pain can slow down the healing process.
Our nutrient needs increase after having undergone surgery, and it is that food is essential to facilitate healing. It is even more essential in the recovery of patients who have undergone oral surgery.
In this post, we will give you all the details of why nutrition is so important after surgery, and we will share ideas and tips on how to recover after oral surgery to serve as a guide.
How does food contribute to recovery after surgery?
Surgical incisions in the mouth and post-operative swelling can make chewing more difficult and discomfort swallowing. And depending on the type of surgical procedure, a diet with foods of a soft or liquid consistency may be necessary to promote healing and subsequent recovery.
On average, an adult needs to eat around 2,000 calories a day. Protein needs can be increased even more after surgery to help to heal faster. Therefore, it is very important to know what we can eat according to the surgery.
Tips for recovering according to the type of oral surgery.
1. Oral surgery.
After oral surgery, such as implant placement, biopsies, or the like, it is not necessary to significantly increase the intake of nutrients.
Maintaining a liquid or soft diet for a few days is advisable. In this way, you will avoid possible injuries at the surgery site and feel more comfortable when you eat food.
You must remember that the purees must not have thread, skins, lumps, or thorns. For this, after grinding them, you must pass them through the strainer.
To facilitate recovery and healing, we recommend that you avoid physical activities that can alter coagulation.
2. Orthognathic surgery and facial fractures.
In the past, patients getting jaw fracture surgery had their jaws immobilized to assist in healing. It was done using elastic rubber bands to hold the teeth together and was known as an “intermaxillary lock.”
This technique may still be necessary in some cases, such as mandibular fractures. However, nowadays, doctors use micro screws and mini rigid fixation plates to ensure precise and predictable healing.
These rigid fixation systems are small enough that they are barely noticeable to patients, and their removal is unnecessary. Due to their small size, they cannot resist the force exerted by chewing until some time has passed.
Immediately after surgery, inflammation can make it difficult to eat solid foods. Therefore, all food must be completely liquid during the first days after orthognathic surgery.
As the diet is restricted to liquid food only, you should try to incorporate all the nutrients. One way to confirm this happens is to rely on nutritional supplements. Its high caloric density and balance of proteins, calories, and vitamins can be a very good option for those days of recovery.
Another way to ingest the basic nutrients is through vegetable creams. These are perfect for post-maxillofacial surgery treatments, as they incorporate all the necessary benefits of vegetables that will help you recover.
Food should not be too hot and should not contain spicy or acidic condiments to avoid irritation and inflammation and facilitate recovery after the operation.
After 3-6 weeks after surgery, a semi-solid diet is likely to be recommended, that is, based on foods that do not require biting or chewing. Here we will find many of the usual foods for the patient, such as scrambled eggs, pasta, fish, etc. This gradual transition will be essential to protect healing and ensure that the patient recovers successfully from surgery.
3. Intermaxillary fixation.
Patients with intermaxillary fixation after surgery must follow a liquid diet until the jaws are free.
After initial healing, you can make mixes of different diluted foods to achieve a suitable consistency. As a recommendation, you can also use juice, milk, water, or broth as a diluent.
It is advisable to filter the resulting mixture to remove particles and dietary fiber to avoid hygiene problems. Nutritional supplements will help you stop meeting your nutritional needs.
To reach the recommended liters of liquid per day (1.5 to 5 liters), you can add cornstarch, semolina, tapioca, etc., to the mixture to achieve the appropriate consistency.
How to eat after surgery?
Regardless of what kind of operation you get, the facial muscles actively involved in the chewing process need rest. Hence the basic rules:
- Food should be easy to digest.
- Ideal consistency – puree or liquid.
- Food and drinks should not be cold or hot, at optimum room temperature.
- Accelerates fractional recovery nutrition, 5-6 meals per day in small portions.
- Eat cold food if you have pain when swallowing. Ice cream and yogurt will help calm the swelling down.
- If your diet is totally liquid, rely on nutritional supplements to achieve the necessary caloric intake.
- Dilute your food with juice, milk, water, or broth.
- Filter your food to remove particles and fiber and thus avoid hygiene problems.
You can eat:
1. Cream soups.
They are easy to eat, even if your mouth is difficult to open. You can simply drink the liquid through a straw. They contain a lot of liquid. They are an excellent substitute for vegetables and fruits and support water balance. An important point: do not serve hot so as not to irritate the mucous membrane.
An excellent source of essential minerals and collagen, gelatin from bones and cartilage will help tissues heal faster. The amino acids will help reduce pain and inflammation.
Even a few spoons will be beneficial: in the ground and whipped form, fruits, and vegetables, which one cannot eat without pain, give the body energy, vitamins, and benefits. Puree potatoes, pumpkin, apples, bananas, avocados, etc.
4. Yogurt without additives.
The combination of zinc, protein, and calcium speeds up the healing process. Make sure to serve it cool.
Pleasant texture and beneficial composition, proteins, and fiber from vegetables, berries, and fruits are especially important in healing.
It is an, without difficulty, digestible source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Oatmeal is healthier than others, but it is better to grind it additionally in a blender.
Liquid diet to recover after oral surgery.
As we have mentioned, food is essential to properly heal wounds from an operation. For this reason, plan the liquid diet in such a way that it must be rich in all the necessary nutrients since it will be the only form of nutrition for the patient.
Here we give you some foods that you should incorporate into your breakfast, lunch, and dinner:
- Have fresh fruit juices or milk for breakfast.
- Have chicken soup, beef soup for lunch and dinner, and vegetable juices.
- As a snack, you can drink lemonade, fruit juices with honey, soft ice creams, yogurts, jams, and milkshakes in the afternoon. You can also use ice cream as a dessert. Make sure to use only skimmed milk.
When on a liquid diet, don’t forget to drink plenty of water daily! Liquid diets not only promote weight loss but also detoxify the body.
Liquid diet recipes.
Liquids are crucial for the proper functioning of our body, especially if we consider that after some surgeries, it is the only recommended thing to ingest.
One of the great benefits of the liquid diet is that it provides enough calories, fiber, and protein to have essential energy and not feel that you are left hungry.
Here we give you some ideas to plan your post-operative liquid diet.
No need to worry as there are many recipes you can try. They are healthy and tasty. Simple recipes like chicken broth, tomato soup, fruit juices, and smoothies are good choices for the newbie to cooking. Well, for that, here are a few recipes for oral surgery that you can include in your daily diet.
1. Cabbage Soup.
- One small cabbage, chopped or grated.
- Chopped green tomatoes: 2 small.
- Black peppers: 2.
- Green peppers (stem and seedless): 2.
- Two small chopped onions.
- Four carrots, cut into slices.
- ½ cup of balsamic vinegar.
- Chop fresh herbs of your choice.
- Five stalks of celery.
- Sliced ½ cup of beans. You can add cut vegetables of your choice.
Procedure: Sauté the tomatoes in a saucepan for 5 minutes. Add the chopped carrots, cabbages, onions, and beans. Keep stirring. Add the remaining ingredients to the skillet. Stir well. Add six glasses of water to it and boil it for an hour. Add the salt during the boil. Strain the broth, and it’s ready to serve. You can make the cabbage soup using different ingredients each time, like garlic, basil, etc. Apple cider vinegar is a decent addition, as it helps reduce weight.
Preparation time: 15 minutes.
Cooking time: 1 hour.
Develop your soup recipes using different combinations of vegetables.
2. Fruits and milk with fiber.
- ½ apple.
- ½ orange.
- ¼ cup bran flakes.
- ¼ cup of plain yogurt.
- Two tablespoons of wheat germ.
Procedure: Put all the ingredients in a beater and mix. Pour this mixture into a glass and serve. Remember, it is a liquid diet recipe serving a person who has just recovered from jaw surgery.
Preparation time: 10 minutes.
3. Fruit-flavored yogurt.
- 2 cups whole milk
- 250 grams of vanilla yogurt
- One large ripe banana or two medium pieces
- Two tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup ice cubes
Procedure: Cut the fruits and add all the ingredients, except the ice, to a blender. Blend the mixture. Then add one ice cube at a time, and blend until smooth and ready to serve.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
4. Fruit shake.
- Vanilla Yogurt: 2 cups
- Pineapple juice: 2 cups
- Two bananas
- 1 cup of strawberries
- ¼ cup wheat germ
- One teaspoon of vanilla extract
Procedure: Mix all the ingredients and beat until smooth.
Preparation time: 10 minutes.
5. Healthy chicken soup.
- ½ chicken breast.
- One medium-sized potato.
- One cup carrot, chopped.
- ½ cup of chicken broth.
- Salt and pepper.
Procedure: Cook the chicken breast, potato, and carrot separately until tender. Remove the bones from the chicken breast. Add the chicken broth with these finely cooked ingredients and mix them in a blender. Adjust the density with water. Boil for 10-15 minutes. Add salt and pepper when serving.
Preparation time: 15 minutes.
Cooking time: 30 minutes.
What foods to avoid after surgery?
Any surgical intrusion is stressful for the body, which means it takes time to recover. Peace, morals and physical, as well as the quality of food matter. In the best case, the wrong food will simply cause unpleasant sensations. At worst – irritation of the mucous membrane, trauma of the operation site, and bacteria ingress into the wound.
- Freshly squeezed juices, smoking, salting, spices, and spicy foods irritate the mucous tissue.
- Sour and sweet foods create a breeding ground for bacteria, which can cause inflammation.
- Crackers, biscuits, crisp bread, and nuts can injure a wound with sharp edges.
- Caffeine increases blood flow. It accelerates the risk of swelling and bleeding.
- Alcohol interferes with normal tissue regeneration after surgery.
Planning a bland diet to recover from an operation.
Meal: Soup with noodles and French omelet.
Dinner: Vegetable cream and cooked ham.
Meal: White rice and grilled chicken breast.
Dinner: Cooked white fish with salad.
Meal: Mashed potatoes and grilled hake.
Dinner: Carrot cream and serrano ham.
Meal Vegetables: Swiss chard or green beans and grilled beef.
Dinner: Rice with poached eggs.
Meal: Vegetable and stew sole.
Dinner: Grilled grouper with potatoes.
Meal: Asparagus cream and grilled lamb chops.
Dinner: Lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and fresh cheese salad.
Meal: Legume puree and a chicken leg.
Dinner: Egg with tomato and tuna salad.
Additional diet recommendations.
You can plan to eat every two to three hours instead of three times a day. Try to keep your food small. Most people get tired of consuming three to four glasses of liquid for every meal. Instead, add nutrients with complementary foods such as protein powder, fruit juices, vegetable purees, and other foods to one cup of the mixture. Ask your dietitian about specific liquid diet recipes to find out which ingredients you can experiment with.
After oral surgery, be it extraction, implant placement, removal of braces, cysts, etc., a subsequent good diet favors the healing of soft and hard tissues.
Oral surgery can make patients nauseous and less interested in food, but eating well after oral surgery is very important. By nourishing the body with high-quality foods, the healing time will be shortened, and the patient will feel better overall.
Fortunately, there are a lot of foods to eat after oral surgery, so patients should not get bored or fidgety with their diet. As with any medical procedure, a doctor’s advice supersedes any other advice a patient may receive, and patients with questions should consult their doctors.
We hope these recommendations help you plan your diet after surgery.