Dental cleanings and make your mouth feel fresh. Who doesn’t love the smooth texture of your teeth when you rub your tongue up against them after they’ve been cleaned? You don’t want to mess with that feeling but need to eat.
You can eat after getting a conventional dental cleaning. However, there are some foods to shy away from for a day or so because of the sensitivity your teeth may feel. Most dentists advise not to eat extremely hot or cold foods and believe you should probably stay away from spicy foods for a while too.
Dental patients need to understand there are two types of cleaning and the aftercare depends on the type of cleaning you get.
Conventional Teeth Cleaning
These are dental cleaning that is typically done by a hygenist when you go for your routine visit. The standard is to get one every six months to remove plaque and tartar and prevent bacteria from spreading. It is an important part of maintaining oral and even physical health.
Most conventional cleanings can be done in about 45 minutes as long as there aren’t any complications.
A conventional dental cleaning may leave your gums a little sore because of the scraping. Depending on your sensitivity level, your teeth may feel some sensitivity too. This should last only a couple of days.
Some of the recommended foods and drinks to stay away from including anything that could agitate your mouth. This includes not only hot and cold foods but could also include some hard foods.
Some foods, like tortilla chips, can become lodged between teeth and be painful to sensitive gums. Acidic foods like orange juice or spaghetti sauce could also agitate your teeth and gums.
Some dental patients require deep cleanings. These are patients who may haven’t seen a dentist in a few years or may have ongoing problems with tartar and plaque. Those who sleep with their mouths open can fall into this group as a dry mouth creates more plaque and tartar.
Deep cleaning is more extensive than normal, routine cleanings so they are done either by the dentist or a periodontist rather than a hygenist. A tool called a scaler is used to manually remove plaque from teeth.
The primary difference between a deep cleaning and a conventional cleaning is that a routine cleaning involves removing plaque at the gum line while a deep cleaning includes removing it from below your gum line. This is why your dentist will likely use a local anesthetic or nitrous oxide known as “laughing gas” for this procedure.
Your dentist may use another tool which is an ultrasound device with a metal tip that vibrates. They will also flood your mouth with a water spray throughout the cleaning. Typically, there is a return suction hose in your mouth to remove water and debris during the cleaning.
Deep cleaning can take up to two hours for those with severe cases. Most take about an hour to an hour and a half.
Deep cleaning can leave your teeth and gums sorer than with routine cleaning. It takes some time for your gums to reattach to the teeth too so there are pockets in between the gums and teeth. You must be careful with what you eat. The first 24 hours are important to avoid gum infections and pain.
You shouldn’t eat while your mouth is numb because you can bite your tongue and cheeks. You should be careful what you eat after the anesthetic wears off.
Most dentists will tell you to avoid hot and cold foods like soup and ice cream. Meat, especially steak and pork, may be hard to eat. Soft meats like chicken and fish work better after a deep cleaning.
Those undergoing a deep cleaning should not eat crunchy foods like popcorn, pretzels, nachos, and other similar foods for 24 hours after treatment. As in conventional cleanings, avoid foods that are high in acid like tomatoes for two days after the treatment.
You should also stay away from alcoholic beverages and spicy foods for 48 hours as well to give your gums a chance to heal.
Many ask their dentist about eating pizza. That depends on the pizza as some can have a hard or chewy crust, making it difficult to eat after extensive cleaning.
Foods To Eat After Teeth Cleaning
There are plenty of foods you can eat after getting your teeth cleaned. Some of those include soft rice, eggs, yogurt, bananas, mashed potatoes, pudding, lunch meats, mac and cheese, smoothies, and vegetables that are cooked soft.
Try to keep your meals nutritious during this time and include things like avocados, fruits, and foods high in protein.
When Should My Gums Heal?
While much of the advice relates to 48 hours after the cleaning, it takes an average of about a week for gums to heal and reattach to your teeth after a deep cleaning. You will want to use your best judgment on what to eat until your gums heal. You can bring back your favorite regular foods into your diet after your gums have completely healed.
Your gums may be sore but you should continue to brush and floss regularly after a teeth cleaning, even a deep cleaning. It’s important to keep your gums from getting infected and help in healing. Be aware there could be some bleeding as you maintain your dental routine.
The Importance of Regular Cleanings
Those who have ongoing plaque and tarter problems should pay particular attention to getting professional teeth cleaning regularly. Some people may need to add an extra cleaning a year to keep plaque and bacteria in check.
Removing tartar and plaque will prevent bacteria from growing.
Bacteria can cause infections and lead to gum disease. Gum disease is a leading cause of tooth loss.
Teeth cleanings aren’t painful and will leave your mouth feeling great. Ultimately it costs less to go for regular teeth cleanings than to deal with periodontal disease later.
Talk to your dentist about your needs for dental cleanings since every case may be different.