Can I Have Dairy After a Tooth Extraction?

Written & Reviewed by Dr David Chen

There has been some mumbling around the internet about avoiding dairy after a tooth extraction or wisdom tooth extraction. Did that statement make you pause and wonder why that was the case?

lifeway organic whole milk kefir

As we’ve all learned while growing up, drinking milk and having dairy products will help build strong bones and teeth. After having a tooth removed, there is obviously a hole in the jaw which will need to be filled back in with bone. Wouldn’t having dairy which is full of calcium be beneficial for the socket during the healing process?

We can’t disagree with you on that because it makes a lot of sense. Thus, we’ve set out to find an explanation for why consuming dairy is forbidden and if there is any truth to it.

History of dairy avoidance after oral surgery

We were initially surprised about the dairy avoidance recommendation because it didn’t make a lot of sense for us. However it also made us incredibly curious as to where that recommendation originated from.

As it turns out, the advice for avoiding dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese) after oral surgery procedures seems to be common practice among the German speaking populations.

In fact, when the study surveyed dental providers in those countries, they found some fascinating information.

  • Over half of the dentists in those countries advised to abstain from dairy.
  • Roughly 40% of the oral surgeons also advised against dairy.

Those were staggering numbers of practitioners who recommended against consuming dairy products after a tooth extraction.

How does that compare to other countries?

Surprisingly, the dairy avoidance seems to only be present in German speaking populations. When you compare it to other countries, the tune seems to have changed.

CountryDairy Recommendation
Belgium (Flemish)Yes
Belgium (Walloon)No
Table 6 Guidelines or recommendations regarding milk and dairy products after oral surgery and comments by country

In summary, only 5 countries out of the 29 that were surveyed had a recommendation against having dairy after dentoalveolar surgery. The USA was not one of those five countries!

Alleged reasons against consuming dairy

Here are all of the alleged reasons as to why dairy such as milk should be avoided after tooth removal.

  • Milk and dairy products increase risk of infection.
  • Lactic acid bacteria may adversely affect wound healing.
  • Possible adverse effect on development of coagulum, coagulum surface may disintegrate.
  • Possible reduced efficiency of antibiotics.
  • Dairy products may cause tuberculosis infection (specifically unpasteurized raw milk products).
  • Milk may react with resorbable sutures.
  • Nausea, vomiting and upset stomach may develop in conjunction with local anesthesia.

So is it bad to have dairy after an extraction?

Fortunately for all of us, studies have shown that there is no evidence to support dairy avoidance after a tooth extraction. That means it is safe to have dairy after having your tooth removed or after any oral surgery procedure for that matter.

Concerns that have been proven false:

  • Potential tuberculosis infection from milk.
  • Nausea and vomiting induced by dairy interaction with local anesthesia.

Essentially, all of the alleged claims have no evidence and it should be safe to consume dairy after your oral surgery procedure.

Tuberculosis infection

One of the concerns was the possibility of getting a tuberculosis infection from drinking milk. That may have been valid in the past but nowadays especially in the United States, milk is all pasteurized.

The risk of getting tuberculosis from milk has been reduced to virtually zero in this present age. As per the CDC, the chance of that happening is incredibly rare in industrialized countries with pasteurized dairy products.

Nausea & Vomiting

Another point which we wish to address is the possibility of nausea and vomiting which may occur from having dairy. According to some sources, the dairy mixed with local anesthesia may elicit those effects.

To the best of our knowledge, we’ve never heard of that before. If there was an interaction between milk and local anesthesia, we would be telling our patients that they can’t have dairy after dental fillings. We’ve never had to do that before.

The most commonly used local anesthetic for dental procedures is lidocaine. According to the FDA, dairy is NOT a contraindication for lidocaine.

So, can I drink milk after tooth extraction?

Yes, you can drink milk after having your tooth removed and we would encourage you to do so. Rather than dairy being harmful, it actually has many wonderful benefits for socket healing which you would miss out on if you didn’t have any.

Dairy benefits after extractions:

  • Provides calcium. That empty tooth socket after the tooth gets pulled will need to be filled back in with bone. As we all know, calcium is one of the minerals that are required for building strong bones and teeth. Milk and dairy products in general are full of calcium which will help you heal faster.
  • Easy to eat after surgery. After extracting your tooth, there are a lot of foods that are off limits because they’re too hard or difficult to eat. Your diet should consist of mostly softer foods for the first 2-3 days. Milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese happen to be very soft so they’re easy to eat and they’re nutritious.
  • Adds variety to diet. After the procedure, you can only eat so many mashed potatoes and scrambled eggs. Having an additional food type will be a blessing for your limited diet!

Hopefully that answers your question about whether or not you can have any after your procedure. Nonetheless, just so that there is no confusion, here is a list of dairy products which you may eat after having your tooth removed.

  • Milk (chocolate milk)
  • Yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Cream cheese
  • Custard
  • Almond milk
  • Softer cheeses (harder cheeses may be difficult to chew after an extraction)
  • Sour cream
  • Ice cream
  • Butter
  • Whey protein
parmesan and pepperjack on cutting board

Don’t forget that there are a lot of dos and dos in regards to tooth extraction aftercare which you should review. There are probably a couple of other things that you’re not aware of such as having coffee with milk. The milk is okay but drinking coffee is a different story.


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