Chewing Isn’t Always Necessary

By: JAMIE HOM

Edited by: ERINN BOON

The third molars in the back of your mouth, also known as your wisdom teeth, don’t have room to grow properly and can cause problems in most cases. Mayo Clinic Prosthodontic Alan Carr, D.M.D, recommends removing the wisdom teeth for many teenagers and young adults before they emerge or grow too large creating a variety of problems, such as an impacted tooth.

This past week I had my wisdom teeth removed. The process was actually quite simple. I began with a consultation followed by the surgery done by Dr. Anthony Cuomo D.D.S.. We discussed prior to the procedure that having all four removed would require proper care of teeth and gums with a soft food diet until harder and chewier foods could be reintroduced to the diet.

A soft food diet is medically necessary and quite common if you undergo certain procedures. When you get your wisdom teeth removed you may hear glamourizing stories revolved around unlimited ice cream and mac and cheese indulgences. I have to admit, I was excited about eating as much ice cream as I pleased, but who wouldn’t be? However, I knew if I only ate ice cream and mac and cheese it would have few nutrients that my body craved in order to heal.

The nutritional benefits would all depend on which soft foods I chose to put in my body and it required careful planning. Of course I realized this after consuming a whole pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream the day after my surgery.

Eating that much ice cream and taking in more calories than were being burned, I came to grips with possibility of gaining weight while on this diet. In addition and maybe something that most people don’t know, it’s likely that you’ll be hungrier while consuming only soft foods versus a normal diet. Bulky foods keep you fuller longer    because the fiber found in raw leafy vegetables or the complex carbs in whole grain foods take longer to digest.

Furthermore, depending on what you eat, you can maintain or lose weight on a soft food diet. In response to this, I hit the Internet in search of healthy soft foods to maintain my healthy lifestyle. Drugs.com says that grinding, pureeing, mashing or blending foods is great for a soft food diet. Foods that may make up a soft food diet include mashed potatoes, smoothies, all types of yogurt and soft cheeses, soups, puddings, rice and soft pastas and cereals or breads softened in milk or other liquids.

To maintain a well-balanced lifestyle, you need a proper amount of carbohydrates, protein and fats. I found keeping a food log extremely helpful. The Institute of Medicine reports that on a 2,000 daily calorie diet, between 46 to 65 percent, or about 225 grams to 325 grams, of your daily calorie intake should come from carbohydrates.10 to 35 percent, or about 50 grams to 175 grams, should come from protein and between 20 and 35 percent, or about 44 grams to 78 grams, should come from fats. However, foods high in saturated fat should be limited or avoided. According to the American Heart Association, foods that are high in saturated fat are a major contributor to heart disease.

Some healthy soft food alternatives I found both filling and nutritional are green smoothies, (check out http://www.smoothieweb.com/category/green-smoothies/), fruit smoothies, applesauce, mashed potato, oatmeal, yogurt, scrambled eggs, smashed tofu and hummus straight off a spoon. It’s okay to have some ice cream and mac and cheese but to heal faster remember it is all about staying healthy.

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