If you're about to get dental implants on one side of your mouth, you might wonder why you have to be on a soft diet for an extended time after the surgery. After all, half of your mouth is going to be untouched, so those teeth should be able to handle harder foods like apples and carrots, right? Being on a soft diet is not just about the food hitting the teeth directly as you chew. It's about protecting the surgery site from any stress, even secondary stress from chewing on the other side of your mouth.
As you chew, little bits of food debris start moving around your mouth -- you really can't contain everything on one side. That debris can get into the surgery site or get caught under the temporary crown. If it's soft debris, like a bit from a soft steamed carrot, it's not going to scrape anything, and it will wash out with mouthwash rather easily. But if it's hard debris, like part of a nut, it can get wedged under the temporary crown or scrape against your sore, healing gums.
There is something you should watch out for with soft foods, though. Strawberries and soft foods containing things like poppy seeds can cause issues because the seeds on the outside of the berry as well as poppy seeds and other small items can get caught under the temporary crown as well. You might want to avoid these foods for a while.
You could always forget that you're not supposed to chew on the surgery side of your mouth. Do that with soft foods, and chances are not much will happen to your teeth and gums in the short time it takes you to figure out you need to chew on the other side of your mouth. Bite down on hard food on the wrong side though, and you could have pain, irritation, and even a cracked temporary crown if you try to chew something like ice.
Chewing is a physical movement, obviously, and it takes effort to chew. If your jaw is recovering from having an implant put in, the less effort you need to use, the better. It will just help your jaw to recover if you can avoid really having to force it to chew harder foods. Chewing soft foods takes much less effort, and if your jaw is still sore from the surgery, you'll quickly feel the different effect of chewing hard and soft foods on your jaw.
Your dentist can help you create a food plan that won't make you feel left out but that will help protect the surgery site and allow it to heal. Give your dentist a call now if you have any questions.
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