Why No Dairy After Dental Implant Surgery?

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Why no dairy after dental implant surgery? Well, we’ll tell you why.

Dental implant surgery provides a long-term solution that allows you to eat, speak, laugh, and smile the way you would be with a natural set of teeth. But this is after your implant has osseointegrated into your jaw bone and your mouth has fully healed. Because in the aftermath of the implant surgery, there will be a long list of food and beverage restrictions. One of the most interesting restrictions is the no-dairy rule. Why no dairy after dental implant surgery? What are these other restrictions? More importantly, what can you eat or drink?

The biggest advantage of getting dental implants is having a tooth or a set of teeth that looks and works like natural teeth. This doesn’t only mean keeping your beautiful smile, but more importantly, being able to enjoy all your favorite food and drinks without the pain. However, like any other surgery, a dental implant requires making a small incision into the gums and some drilling into the jaw bone to insert the post (a surgical-grade titanium rod).

12 hours after surgery

Following the surgical procedure, your mouth and the implant areas will feel numb, this is because of the anesthetics and this feeling could last for a few hours. During this period, it is important to listen to your dental service provider and avoid hard and chewy foods and stick to food that is easy to take for the first six hours. Soft foods like applesauce and mashed potatoes are pretty useful in getting food inside your stomach without having anything abrasive and hard.

Whatever you decide to eat, make sure it doesn’t contain anything remotely solid, such as nuts and seeds. These tiny things can get trapped in the implant area, which can lead to stress and infections.

After six hours, the anesthetics will wear off completely and the implant area will no longer feel numb. From here, you can move to firm (but not solid) foods, like cooked vegetables, pasta, and eggs.

Why no dairy after dental implant?

While dairy products are soft and are a rich source of calcium and protein, your dental specialist (implantologist) will advise against them during your recovery period. Why?

Milk, yogurt, cheese (especially cottage cheese), and other dairy products contain saturated fats that can cause an inflammatory response to the oral tissues. This, of course, can disrupt the body’s healing process.

Moreover, dairy products are known to trigger bloating and stomach upset, which leads to nausea and vomiting, particularly for people with lactose intolerance. While these side effects are unpleasant already, vomiting can also disrupt the healing process and compromise the newly inserted dental implants as it can introduce acidity into the mouth.

What other foods to avoid post-surgery?

Hard and solid foods

Eating hard foods like chewing on nuts, ice, or candy, could damage the implant; it will not only disrupt the healing process but can also damage the whole thing which could mean trouble for you. Thus, reduce the risk of damaging your bone and gums around the implant by avoiding hard foods.

Tough and chewy foods

Thick chewy bread, chewing gums, beef jerky, raw vegetables, dried fruits, fibrous and stringy meat like steak, meat on the bone (chicken wings and turkey legs), chewy candies, and other tough and chewy food can seriously hurt the surgery area and compromise the healing of your implant. Thus, it is best to avoid them during your recovery stage.

Sticky foods

The same goes with sticky foods like caramel and tuffy – these foods can easily stick to the surgical site and increase the risk of infection, which again, can compromise the healing.

Crunchy foods

Chips, crackers, popcorn, or even crunchy fruits and vegetables like apples, pears, carrots, and cucumber, are crunchy and abrasive that may get in the way of your implants.

Spicy foods

Spices can irritate the gums and tongue, which can lead to more discomfort and pain. Eating spicy food after dental surgery can also cause swelling, soreness, and difficulty speaking and swallowing food.

Foods to eat the first week after the surgery

Your wound has not healed completely. Thus, it is important to be cautious about what to chew and eat during the first seven days following the surgery.

Soft fruits

Soft fruits like berries or fruits that don’t have pits or stones can actually help your dental implant through good oral hygiene. Examples of soft fruits are berries like strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, black currants, grapes, etc. These fruits can help promote better health for your gums and teeth.

The best time to eat fruits is after breakfast or dinner, so they won’t interfere with your sleep schedule.

Mashed potatoes

Mashed potatoes are one of the most recommended foods by dentists following dental procedures, especially surgeries like dental implants. Mashed potato is one of the few foods you can eat after a dental implant. You can actually have mashed potatoes 20 minutes after the procedure.

By providing a moist environment on the implant site, mashed potatoes can help promote healing. This is particularly important to avoid common complications like dry sockets. A dry socket happens when the blood clot on the tooth socket falls off. It isn’t only painful, it also increases the risk of infection. The soft texture of mashed potatoes allows you to eat healthy food without compromising the implant area.


Oats are rich in fiber, and fiber is not only for good digestion, but can also help reduce inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and provide a good source of energy. This is why it is best for breakfast. Moreover, oatmeal is also rich in antioxidants, and protein, can help lower blood sugar levels, and more.


Protein plays a huge role in the healing process; your body uses this nutrient to repair the tissues damaged from dental surgery. Moreover, your body also uses protein to help ward off infection, which there may be an increased risk after the surgery.

Soups and broth

Your dentist will ask you to eat soft food, especially during the first couple of days following the implant surgery. Soup and broth are great, as they will allow your saliva to wash away bacteria in your mouth. This is extremely important in minimizing the risk of infections from food particles entering through an open wound. Also, since soup and broth are liquid, they are a great food to get full and hydrated.

The Takeaway

Getting sufficient nutrients is crucial following dental implant surgery. So eat regularly and drink plenty of fluids. However, it is important to eat and consume only the appropriate food and beverages during the early stage of healing.

Get enough protein to promote healing. If you feel surfeited from eating eggs every day, you can always look for other protein sources. Protein powders, for example, are easy and convenient. You can also add protein powder to your meals and smoothies.

More importantly, stick to the post-dental implant diet provided by your dental professional so as not to compromise your healing process.

While it may seem frustrating to avoid your favorite food for a certain amount of time, keep in mind that it is only temporary. These restrictions and recommendations are set to ensure the best healing process and comfort after the procedure and should be strictly followed.

Dr Febin Mary George - Editor

With more than 10 years as a dental surgeon, Dr Febin Mary George is passionate about educating consumers around the world to help look after their teeth.

She completed her Bachelor of Surgery at the Century Institute of Dental Science and Research Centre in 2010.

Alongside editing the International Journal of Dental Clinics she has also written for major publications including Thrive Global.