What can you eat before wisdom teeth surgery?

Getting your wisdom teeth removed is a common procedure that many people undergo. While the surgery itself may only take an hour or two, the recovery process can take several days. During this recovery period, it is important to follow any dietary instructions from your oral surgeon to promote healing and avoid complications.

Quick Answers

Here are quick answers to common questions about what you can eat before wisdom teeth surgery:

  • Stick to soft, mild foods the day before surgery. Good options are yogurt, oatmeal, soup, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, and pudding.
  • Avoid nuts, seeds, popcorn, hard or crunchy foods that could get stuck in the surgical site.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking water, juice, sports drinks, and other cool, non-carbonated beverages.
  • Avoid alcohol before surgery as it can interact with anesthesia and affect blood clotting.
  • Stop eating solid foods at least 6-8 hours before your scheduled surgery time.
  • You may be instructed to avoid dairy products the morning of surgery as they can cause extra mucus production.
  • Listen to your surgeon’s specific instructions, as they may adjust the timing of your last pre-op meal.

Why does your diet matter before wisdom teeth removal?

Eating the right foods before your wisdom teeth are removed can make a big difference in your recovery. Here are some reasons why your pre-operative diet is important:

  • Avoid food particles and debris – Hard, crunchy, sticky, or crumbly foods could get stuck in the extraction sites after surgery. This raises infection risk.
  • Prevent damage to the wounds – Hard foods that require extensive chewing could disrupt the blood clots trying to form in the surgical areas.
  • Reduce inflammation – Foods like dairy, spicy foods, alcohol, and others can sometimes irritate the mouth and gums after oral surgery.
  • Prevent nausea and vomiting – Anesthesia drugs plus swallowing blood after surgery can sometimes cause nausea. Eating very soft foods minimizes this.
  • Allow safe anesthesia – Your body needs time to digest food before anesthesia. Consuming only clear liquids reduces risks of vomiting and aspiration.

By being mindful of what you eat leading up to the procedure, you can set yourself up for an easier, less painful recovery period.

Best foods to eat before wisdom teeth removal

Here are some of the best options for what to eat in the 24 hours before your wisdom teeth surgery:

Dairy foods

  • Yogurt – Try plain, Greek yogurt without seeds or fruit chunks. The protein can help you feel full.
  • Cottage cheese – Soft, creamy cottage cheese is easy to eat.
  • Ice cream, milkshakes – Opt for soft ice cream and drinkable milkshakes.
  • Pudding – Choose smooth, silky pudding cups or make your own.


  • Oatmeal – Well-cooked oats have a soft, mushy texture that won’t disturb the surgery sites.
  • Cream of wheat – The smooth, creamy consistency makes it ideal.
  • Mashed potatoes – Prepare mashed potatoes from boiled Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes.
  • Pasta – Cook pasta very soft until overdone. Serve plain or with a mild sauce.
  • Rice – Well-cooked white or brown rice easily mashes into a soft food.

Fruits and vegetables

  • Applesauce – Opt for smooth, unsweetened applesauce without chunks.
  • Banana – Fully ripe, peeled bananas are naturally soft and easy to chew.
  • Cooked carrots, peas – Well-cooked and mashed veggies are great options.
  • Canned fruit – Try peaches, pears, or other soft fruits packed in juice or water.
  • Tomato soup – Smooth, creamy tomato soup contains vitamins and minerals.


  • Eggs – Scrambled, soft boiled, and poached eggs don’t require chewing.
  • Cottage cheese – See dairy section.
  • Yogurt – See dairy section.
  • Smooth nut butter – If allowed, peanut and almond butter easily glide down.
  • Tuna – Make sure any canned tuna is very well-mashed with a fork.
  • Protein shake – Use a blender to fully liquefy the shake.

Stick mainly to room temperature or cooler foods to avoid irritating surgical sites.

Foods to avoid before wisdom teeth removal

Here are categories of foods it’s best to stay away from in the 24 hours leading up to your wisdom teeth extraction:

Hard, crunchy foods

  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Granola
  • Dried fruits and vegetables
  • Popcorn
  • Pretzels
  • Potato chips
  • Crackers

Chewy, sticky foods

  • Gum
  • Candy
  • Cookies
  • Jerky
  • Pizza
  • Bread
  • Bagels

Spicy foods

  • Hot sauce
  • Chili peppers
  • Hot salsa
  • Curries
  • Black pepper

Crumbly foods

  • Crumbly cheeses like feta
  • Dry breadcrumbs
  • Uncooked ground meat
  • Quinoa
  • Granola

Carbonated beverages

  • Carbonated soda
  • Sparkling water
  • Beer

Avoid any food that could leave particles behind or require prolonged chewing. Focus on homogenous, smooth foods that slide down with minimal effort.

When should you stop eating before surgery?

Most oral surgeons recommend stopping all food and drink intake at least 6-8 hours before your scheduled surgery time. This gives your body time to digest and process the foods in your system.

Clear liquids like water, black coffee, and tea are typically permitted up to 2-3 hours pre-op. But be sure to follow your own surgeon’s specific guidelines.

Chewing gum and hard candy should also be stopped 6-8 hours before surgery.

If you take regular medications, check with your surgeon or anesthesiologist about timing. Small sips of water are usually allowed to swallow medications.

Guidelines for when to stop eating and drinking by surgery time:

Surgery Time Stop Solid Foods By Stop Clear Liquids By
7 am Midnight the night before 5 am
9 am 3 am 7 am
11 am 5 am 9 am
1 pm 7 am 11 am
3 pm 9 am 1 pm

It’s essential to stop eating and drinking early enough before anesthesia and surgery. This helps prevent complications like choking from vomiting.

Day-by-day guide for pre-surgery diet

Knowing what to eat each day leading up to your procedure can take the guesswork out of your pre-op diet. Use this timeline as a guide:

5-7 days before surgery

  • Eat normally but start introducing soft foods
  • Avoid hard, crunchy, and crumbly foods that get stuck in teeth
  • Stop or limit caffeine to avoid withdrawal headaches later
  • Stay hydrated by drinking 8-10 glasses of water daily

3 days before

  • Transition to a full soft food diet
  • Avoid any sharp, crunchy, or spicy foods
  • Choose soups, smoothies, mashed veggies, yogurt, oatmeal
  • Hydrate well and consider a clear broth or juice fast

2 days before

  • Stick with soft, cool foods
  • Eat small, frequent meals to limit fatigue
  • Prepare food so it’s ready for the next couple days
  • Continue drinking 8-10 glasses of water daily

The day before surgery

  • Eat only approved soft, mild foods (see lists above)
  • Avoid hard, hot, spicy, or acidic foods
  • Eat small, light meals to aid digestion
  • Continue staying well-hydrated with cool, clear liquids
  • Finish eating by 6-8pm (or as directed)

Morning of surgery

  • Stop all food intake 6-8 hours pre-op (unless otherwise instructed)
  • You may be told to avoid dairy and juices with pulp
  • Drink only clear fluids (water, black coffee/tea, clear broth) until 2-3 hours before your procedure
  • Take any medications as prescribed with small sips of water
  • Stop drinking clear fluids 2-3 hours before surgery

This timeline can help you wind down the complexity of foods gradually while staying hydrated before your wisdom teeth are removed.

Sample menu for day before surgery

Planning out a menu can take the guesswork out of prepping for surgery. Here is a sample menu you can use as a guide:


  • Cream of wheat or oatmeal cooked in milk or water
  • Greek yogurt with no fruit or seeds
  • Soft scrambled eggs
  • Decaf coffee or tea (optional)
  • Water


  • Mashed potato or sweet potato
  • Well-cooked peas
  • Chicken noodle soup or tomato soup
  • Applesauce
  • Herbal tea or water


  • Pasta with creamy sauce
  • Cottage cheese
  • Cooked carrots
  • Jello or pudding
  • Juice diluted with water
  • Water


  • Ice cream, milkshake
  • Smoothie without seeds
  • Banana
  • Custard or vanilla pudding
  • Broth

Focus on foods you can easily swallow while avoiding irritation. Soft, room-temperature options are best for the day before your extraction.

What to eat after getting wisdom teeth out

While this article covers what you can eat before surgery, the recovery diet is also crucial. Here are some basics on how to transition back to solid foods after wisdom teeth removal:

  • First 24 hours – Only liquids like water, juice, broths, popsicles, and jello. Avoid sucking through a straw.
  • 3-7 days after – Gentle, cool, soft foods like applesauce, pudding, mashed potatoes, yogurt, oatmeal, noodles.
  • 7-14 days after – Soft foods that require more chewing like eggs, pancakes, cooked vegetables, canned fruits.
  • 2+ weeks after – Transition back to a normal healthy diet as tolerated.

Introduce new foods slowly and avoid chewing near the surgical sites initially. Be sure to listen to your surgeon’s specific post-op instructions as well.


Preparing with a soft, mild diet in the 24 hours leading up to wisdom teeth removal helps set you up for a smooth surgery and recovery. Focus on soft, nutritious foods that slide down easily. Avoid irritating, crunchy, or crumbly foods that could get stuck and disrupt healing. Drink plenty of cool, clear fluids and follow your surgeon’s recommendations on when to stop eating and drinking pre-op. With the right preparation, you can cruise through your procedure and get back to regular eating soon.

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