When you have severe gum recession, your tooth’s root becomes exposed and is at an increased risk for bacterial infection and trauma. Not to mention, it can look unattractive and cause heightened tooth sensitivity and pain.
The solution for this is a soft tissue graft or gum graft. This procedure takes a thin piece of gum tissue (typically from the roof of your mouth or a donor) and attaches it around your tooth.
Once healed, your gums’ natural defenses are restored to protect your tooth from gum disease, decay, and further recession.
Seeking out an experienced periodontist for this procedure is vital. But you also play a key role in ensuring the gum graft procedure is successful.
A gum graft takes one to two weeks to heal. During this time, you’ll need to follow strict instructions, including what you can and cannot eat. Your compliance with these directions can affect your outcome.
Our gum specialists in San Fransisco have put together this quick guideline to help you heal quickly and successfully.
What to eat after a gum graft
Fruits contain many vitamins and minerals that can help you heal, including vitamin C, vitamin K, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Here are soft fruits we recommend:
Avoid hard or crunchy fruits that can irritate the surgical site.
Veggies also contain vitamins and minerals that help your gums recover, including iron, calcium, magnesium, and protein.
However, you should only consume steamed or roasted vegetables, and make sure they are soft. Uncooked, hard, or crunchy vegetables can damage the treatment area.
Soups are an excellent source of liquids and soft vegetables. Just make sure the soup is lukewarm or cold.
Here are some recommendations:
- Cream of asparagus soup
- Split pea soup
- Lentil soup
- Minestrone soup
- Sweet potato and coconut soup
You can’t go wrong with a smoothie!
Start by adding a milk base (dairy or non-dairy), all the vegetables and fruits you want, then top it with ice. Blend all the contents thoroughly so there are no hard chunks, and enjoy!
Avoid using a straw because it can dislodge a blood clot or strain the healing site.
Protein is essential to building and repairing tissues, but with a soft-food diet, it can be easily overlooked.
Here are a few sources of protein, other than chicken and red meat:
- Beans and lentils
- Peanut butter
Other foods you can eat after a soft tissue graft
- Mashed potatoes
- Ice cream
- Frozen yogurt
What foods to avoid after a gum graft
To protect your gum graft from becoming irritated and slowing down the healing process, avoid the following:
- Tough substances (steak or raw veggies)
- Crunchy substances (popcorn, nuts, ice, and potato chips)
- Sticky substances (bagels or gummy candy)
- Hot spices (peppers)
- Citric substances (tomatoes or lemonade)
- Acidic substances (soda)
As you progressively heal, you may be able to reintroduce these into your diet, but ask your periodontist first.
When can I eat my regular diet after a gum graft?
Typically, your gum graft should heal within 14 days. After that, you can resume eating as you wish.
However, the only away to know for certain is by consulting with your periodontist. They’ll have you come in for a final exam to ensure everything healed correctly.
More tips to follow after gum graft surgery
- The day of your procedure, stick to cold drinks and soft foods only
- The day after your procedure, stick to a liquid-cold diet
- Chew on the opposite side of your surgical site
- Don’t use a straw
- Drink eight glasses of water per day
- To minimize swelling, apply a cold compress to your cheek over the area of surgery for 30 minutes on and 30 minutes off for 24 hours
- Take medications while eating to ease nausea (unless directed otherwise)
- To reduce bleeding and inflammation, keep your head elevated with extra pillows
- Do not exercise or participate in activities that raise your pulse for 7 days
Have a question about gum grafts?
Our team has years of experience offering non-invasive and surgical services, including periodontics and implantology. Our office is located in San Francisco and serves the surrounding communities of East Bay and North Bay.
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