Having an achy tooth or toothache on multiple teeth can impact daily, quality of life. From speaking, to swallowing to eating to breathing we use our mouths every day to interact, eat and simply exist! When it comes to eating, having a toothache may cause you to avoid certain softs and maybe focus on eating soft foods to reduce pain.
However, just because you have a toothache and are eating soft foods, doesn’t mean you are limited to eating milkshakes, ice cream or bland soups. There are a variety of soft foods that are not only tasty and flavorful but are also packed with nutrients your mouth and entire body need to function well.
In this article, you’ll learn the causes, signs and symptoms of a toothache as well as uncover the best soft food snacks and meals to enjoy, food prep tips plus foods to avoid. All information is provided by a credentialed, registered dietitian with a personal and professional love of all things food and nutrition for dental wellness.
Of course, the main focus of this post is to provide an informative resource on soft foods to consume with a toothache. When it comes to dental concerns and care please consult with your dental provider.
PS. If you'd like some free toothache-friendly soft food recipes, nutrition facts and grocery list, click here to subscribe to Dental Meal Plans, and get the PDF delivered right to your inbox!
So, What Causes A Toothache?
There are several reasons a tooth can ache. Some causes of a toothache can be a cracked tooth, a cavity, sinus pressure, gum disease, an exposed root, a dental abscess, a loose or broken filling, an infection or problems with braces.
Depending on what is causing your tooth or teeth to ache can depend on the type and duration of pain you feel. So, no matter what kind of toothache you are experiencing, scheduling an appointment with a dentist can help figure out what is going on.
In the meantime, while you wait to see a dentist, if you’d like more information about the causes of a toothache, check out this information from the Journal of American Dental Association and refer to the resources section further down this post for additional sources.
What Are The Signs and Symptoms of A Toothache?
As mentioned in the previous section the signs and symptoms of a toothache can vary depending on the cause of the toothache.
The following are the signs and symptoms of a toothache:
- Swollen gums
- The tooth feels like it is throbbing
- Bad breath
- Bad taste
- Tooth or teeth feeling sensitive
- Sharp, jabbing pain in tooth or teeth
- Avoiding hot or cold drinks or food near certain teeth or a tooth
Again, this is not a conclusive list of all the signs and symptoms of a toothache, for more information please refer to this article from the Cleveland Clinic as well as find more information in the additional resources section.
The Best Soft Foods To Eat When Your Teeth Hurt
When your teeth hurt, knowing which soft foods to eat to help minimize chewing and reduce pain to the aching tooth or teeth, on top of taking the time to pick what to eat and looking forward to eating it can feel like a burden. Fear not, it doesn’t have to feel overwhelming if you have an idea of what to eat beyond milkshakes and soups.
Now of course, what you eat can impact how well you heal after oral surgery (if you need it to relieve the tooth pain) and may help to lessen inflammation, so aiming for a variety of nutrient-dense foods along with feel-good, less nutritious foods can help make getting through this tooth pain that much more manageable. Here are some soft food meal and snack ideas that may help take the guesswork of what to eat with a toothache.
Soft Food Meals
- Cheesy mashed potatoes seasoned with turmeric and black pepper with shredded chicken smothered in gravy and pureed carrots
- Overnight oats with chia seeds, ground flaxseeds, collagen powder, Greek yogurt and pureed berries
- Spinach and pineapple and strawberry smoothie with kefir, protein powder and milk
- Pressure or slow cooker pot roast
- Cheesy scrambled eggs with shredded spinach and finely chopped mushrooms mixed in
- Canned tuna or salmon salad on crustless, seedless whole wheat bread with a side of sliced mushy banana
- Protein bean-based pasta with sauteed finely chopped spinach, tomato and mushrooms tossed in olive oil
- Ground turkey with brown rice with finely chopped cucumber, and tomato and topped with tzatziki
- Bean and chickpeas mixed with parmesan and finely chopped garlic, tomatoes, and spinach
- Chicken and grain bowl with finely chopped cooked chicken, quinoa finely chopped broccoli, spinach and red bell pepper
Soft Food Snacks
- Chocolate peanut butter banana nice cream
- Chocolate tofu pudding
- Cherry frozen yogurt popsicle
- Mashed avocado with softened pita bread
- Half a turkey or tuna salad sandwich on seedless, crustless soft bread
- Bite-sized tomatoes and diced cucumbers with yogurt or hummus dipping sauce
- Spinach, berry, yogurt smoothie
- Mashed potatoes infused with bone broth and chopped spinach
- Cottage cheese with finely diced or mushy fruit and topped with syrup
- Crushed canned pineapple with whipped cream and shredded coconut
Soft Food Drinks
Smoothies are more of a meal and snack given the thickness of the beverage. These soft food drinks are more of a liquid consistency, yet are packed with yummy ingredients and healing nutrients.
- Bone broth mixed with ground turmeric and crushed pepper
- Matcha latte
- Green juice that includes pineapple, lemon, parsley and cucumber
- Strawberry and watermelon juice with coconut water
- Pink green tea with coconut milk and strawberries
Toothache Food Prep Tips
There are a lot of foods that do not come soft, mushy, shredded or finely diced when purchased off the shelves at a grocery store. So, there is some additional food preparation needed to make meals and snacks less chewy, and easier to enjoy with reduced pain. Here are some food prep tips to make soft food eating a breeze:
- Puree foods by using a food processor or blender
- Cut foods into small bite-size pieces
- Cook meats in broth or water to help soften them
- Smother meats with gravy or sauce to help soften them
- Steam or cook vegetables until they are soft and require less chewing
- Drink liquids are room temperature to reduce pain and sensitivity
- Eat foods at room temperature to reduce pain and sensitivity
For more details, information and tips on how to make food soft, check out Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital’s resources here.
Foods To Avoid When You Have A Toothache
With sore teeth, there are some foods and drinks that can exacerbate the issue. Try to avoid these foods and drinks while working through dental pain.
- Acidic foods such as certain tomato sauces and citrus fruits like lemon and limes
- Spicy foods like salsa and buffalo chicken
- Very hot or very cold beverages like hot tea or ice cream
- Crunchy foods that could get stuck in teeth and continue to cause pain like popcorn kernels
- Sticky foods that could get stuck on teeth and cause pain like caramel squares
Having dental pain can impact what you eat, drink and simply how you go about your day. When it comes to what to eat and drink soft foods can help minimize chewing and lessen the pressure, pain and sensitivity in the toothache area. There are certain foods to avoid to also help lessen the achy tooth.
Of course, choosing soft foods packed with protein, vitamin D, and calcium can help support strong teeth and overall oral health. Plus, if you do need to get dental surgery to relieve the ache having ample stores of these nutrients may even help you heal faster and get back to your regular, non-soft food diet!
Hope you found this article informative and helpful! As always as a registered dietitian with a focus on dental health I am here to support your dental nutrition needs. To stay in the know feel free to subscribe to Dental Meal Plans. And of course, any questions, to learn about my services or to chat, please feel free to reach me via the contact page.