Can You Eat Before Your Next Dental Appointment?

You can take several steps to ensure you have a successful dental appointment, such as confirming the appointment time, not being late, and wearing comfortable clothing. One of the frequent questions people have is whether they should eat before their appointment. While going to the dentist with an empty stomach may benefit you for specific appointments, is this generally true?

Trident Dental has a complete offering of dental services to help you maintain healthy teeth and gums. Schedule an appointment at Trident Dental for a comprehensive oral examination and professional teeth cleaning to learn more.

The Problem With Hunger

It is always important to coordinate what you eat and when you eat with your dentist before your appointment. Although hunger affects everyone differently, it tends to make most people more anxious. Since most people already experience some level of anxiety before seeing their dentist, hunger only worsens the situation.

Skipping meals and going hungry can have several possible adverse effects on your dental appointment, in addition to increased anxiety. These include:

  • Interfering with taking prescribed medications on time. This can have profound medical implications, especially for those with conditions such as diabetes. A person with diabetes can experience low blood sugar if a meal is not eaten. The increased stress of a dental appointment could precipitate insulin shock.

  • Increasing saliva production. If you skip a meal, fingers and dental instruments in your mouth will stimulate your salivary glands to produce more saliva. The added moisture in your mouth can make your dental treatment more difficult and time-consuming.

  • Prolonging your dental treatment. If you are hungry, you will be more anxious, fidgety, and less patient. This typically leads to a more stressful dental appointment that can prevent your dentist from completing the necessary treatment. 

Generally, going to the dentist hungry is not a good idea. However, you must also be careful to eat the right foods before your appointment.

Eating Before Your Next Dental Appointment

Stopping for a large pizza on your way to the dentist would not be a great idea. Ideally, you should eat early enough to allow for digestion before your appointment and eat the right foods. You can eat most foods without interfering with your appointment. However, it is best to avoid these foods:

  • Citrus. Fruits and fruit juices are acidic and tend to demineralize tooth enamel. Unless you consume these foods excessively, your saliva can remineralize the affected areas. Avoiding citrus before a dental hygiene appointment can help prevent damaging your enamel during teeth cleaning.

  • Garlic. While garlic is a healthy food, it is also known for its strong odor. Avoiding eating garlic is showing consideration for your oral health care provider.

  • Popcorn. It can be challenging to remove every piece of popcorn from around your teeth in a brief time. Unless you have time to thoroughly brush and floss, it is better to save your popcorn for later. 

  • Sticky foods. Dried fruits and other foods can lodge between your teeth and interfere with cleaning or other dental treatments.

Eating After Your Dental Appointment

What you eat after a dental appointment depends on the treatment you receive. After an exam and cleaning, you may want to avoid certain foods if you received a fluoride varnish. These foods include citrus, coffee, sugary drinks, sticky and hard foods. 

Dental treatments that use local anesthetics to numb your mouth require special care until the anesthetic wears off. You should avoid chewing and drinking any hot beverages until you regain the feeling in your mouth. You may also need to avoid chewing on a newly restored tooth for a particular period prescribed by your dentist.

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