Diet is a very important part of the process following jaw surgery. In fact, what you eat can have a significant impact on how quickly you recover.
While you are in hospital, you will be provided with appropriate food to support your recovery. Once you leave to the comfort of your own home, your diet is all up to you.
Here are our top tips on what to eat after jaw surgery.
- Eliminate dairy from your diet until your stitches are removed
Our one unbreakable dietary rule after any jaw surgery is to eliminate dairy from your diet until your stitches are removed. Our mouths are filled with bacteria and dairy is the perfect food for them.
If you were to drink a glass of milk after surgery for example, it leaves a sticky coating on the stitches closing your surgical wound. This coating attracts bacteria and increases the risk of infection at the surgical site. So dairy is a no-go!
- Meal preparation
Prepare ahead by making a collection of meals before your surgery. You’ll thank yourself later!
- Buy a slurpee on the way home
Other than a hot day, you’ll find jaw surgery offers the perfect excuse to enjoy slurpees. These icy drinks are cold, taste good, and will help soothe your mouth during your trip home from the hospital.
- Your diet at home will consist of liquids only to begin with
Ensure Clear Nutrition Drinks are a great source of vitamins. They contain a little dairy, but aren’t sticky like milk so won’t be an issue. Other Ensure products are milkier so aren’t recommended.
If you can’t get a hold of the Ensure Clear Nutrition Drinks, don’t worry! There are other options available. These generally involve the use of a good quality blender. Yes, the blender is your friend!
Blended fruit is a good place to start. Frozen fruit from the supermarket is more cost effective and offers a soothing coolness. If you use fresh fruit we recommend blending with ice to keep them cool.
Mangoes are a fantastic option because they don’t have seeds. If you choose berries, make sure you remove the seeds with a strainer or nut bag. You don’t want them getting into the healing surgical site.
Remember, don’t make your smoothies too thick as it will be difficult to drink. Another great idea is to prepare and freeze some smoothie packs (fruits) in little bags before you go to hospital.
Is it a little too cold for icy smoothies? Pureed soup is a tasty and easy alternative. Just make sure it is not a cream-based soup so you that your stitches stay clean.
- Add some protein and fibre to your smoothies or soups.
To up your nutrients, we recommend adding some protein powder and fibre, such as Benefibre, to your smoothies and soups. Fibre is particularly important to support your bowel movements, as the codeine prescribed for pain relief can cause constipation. Benefibre will not affect the texture or taste, so you can enjoy the benefits while still tasting the full flavour of the fruits.
- Start biting into soft foods.
There’s no hard and fast rule as to when you can start enjoying solid food again, as it really comes down to how you are progressing and the type of jaw surgery you are having. Your surgeon will advise you when you can move on to soft solids and then to normal foods again. As a general rule, the more extensive the surgery, the longer you will be on a soft diet for.
Some of the soft foods you can enjoy once you’ve been give the OK from your surgeon include:
- Overcooked pasta;
- Risotto (well cooked, soft and almost mushy);
- Boiled or scrambled eggs;
- Mashed vegetables;
- Minced meat.
It will take you a little while to adjust to your new bite and, when you do eat, there may be some swelling or a different sensation to usual when you chew.
Remember, your body is still recovering from your jaw surgery, so just take it easy and listen to your body’s needs.
For more information about the post-op healing and recovery time, download our free ebook where you’ll find all the answers to your jaw surgery related questions.