If you’re going to get dental implants in the near future, you will follow a soft food diet for a while after the procedure is complete. Although eating nothing but chicken soup and ice cream might not sound like such a bad thing, it is worth preparing yourself for the boredom that will inevitably ensue from the lack of variety.

In addition to the texture and consistency of the food itself, there are also a few other dietary considerations to keep in mind. Here are eight rules for a soft food diet after dental implants:

Rule #1: Learn the parameters of a soft food diet.

In addition to the requirement of the food being soft, you need to consider a few other things in order to protect your oral health after getting dental implants. Extreme temperatures, highly acidic, and spicy foods are all off limits. This includes any kind of chili spice, hot sauce, and acidic foods like citrus and tomatoes.

Seeds are also not a good idea, including even very small ones like poppy or sesame. Basically, you don’t want anything small that could get into holes, so even rice and quinoa shouldn’t be consumed in the days immediately following the surgery.

Rule #2: There are forbidden foods in a soft food diet.

In order to set yourself up for the highest chances of a fully successful recovery, you’ll also want to stay away from straws, smoking, spitting, and carbonated beverages for at least one week following the surgery.

Alcohol is also not advised and abrasive foods like chips and nuts should certainly be avoided. Ideally, for about the first six hours, or until the numbness wears off, eat soft foods such as a milkshake, smoothie, yogurt, ice cream, pudding, applesauce, mashed potatoes, or creamy soup.

Rule #3: Avoid foods that cause dehydration after dental implants.

It can be easy to forget about dehydration when you feel like you’re practically drinking all our food anyway, but this is a mistake. Especially during the first few days of recovery, it is likely that your overall food intake will be quite limited compared to normal.

You should compensate for this by increasing your fluid intake and making yourself actively aware of taking fluids regularly. It is also important to try not to miss a single meal. By making sure that you’re getting adequate nutrition, you will feel better, have more strength, less discomfort and heal faster.

Rule #4: Drink a lot of shakes and smoothies.

Shakes and smoothies are one of the best ideas for a soft food diet after dental implants. These beverages contain a lot of nutrition, plus they are super easy to consume and tastes great. You can buy flavoured protein powder or add different nutritional supplements to increase your caloric intake.

You can also usually sneak a decent sized portion of vegetables into a fruit concoction without really changing the flavour. There are a bunch or fun and varied recipes online, so you don’t have to worry about running out of options.

Rule #5: Add pasta into your soft food diet.

Cheesy pasta is another great option for your soft food diet once the initial numbness of your dental implants has worn off. In addition to experimenting with different variations of Mac n Cheese, you can also try things like incorporating hummus or mashed peas to bulk up the nutrition value.

Rule #6: Your soft food diet should have protein.

As noted above, protein powder, hummus, and mashed beans are all good ways to ensure you’re still getting the protein you need. Eggs are also a nice way to squeeze in a little extra of the stuff you’re not getting from the meat or fish that usually round out your diet.

Rule #7: Add soups into your soft food diet plan.

There are so many options when it comes to soup and stews that you can really eat well without getting board. Try things like pureed butternut squash, pureed black bean (not spicy), noodles and vegetables, well-cooked ramen, pureed cauliflower, pureed chickpea leeks, miso soup, the possibilities are really endless.

Just make sure that you eat your soup at a carefully warmed temperature, as anything too hot could aggravate the implants and slow down your healing process.

Rule #8: Watch out for worrying signs in your dental implants.

Some precautions may start to feel unnecessary as you begin healing from dental implants. However, it is really important to stick to a few common rules until the process is fully complete. For example, using a straw at any point during the week or so following dental implant surgery could cause sign problems.

The issue is the suction that’s created when using a straw will prevent your body from forming and keeping blood clots, which is how you stop bleeding. These blood cloths are also important for preventing a dry socket, a painful condition where the clot wasn’t allowed to form, exposing the underlying bone.

If you do start to think that something might be wrong, you should contact your dentist immediately and seek professional help.