One of the primary goals of successful dental rehabilitation is maximizing a patient’s ability to eat, enjoy and chew healthy, delicious foods and, as a result of healthier diet, improve overall health. Nutrition, healthy food choices and diet are subjects on everyone’s mind. A wealth of information about nutrition is available in the community, on the Internet and in books. To ensure adequate healing following dental implant treatment, maintaining a healthy diet is essential. The doctors and staff at Pi Dental Center discuss nutrition with patients prior to their surgical treatment.
In an interview, Dr. Thomas Balshi was asked what he tells his patients about nutrition. “We tell them that they need to keep their protein levels up. After surgery they should eat frequently to reduce stomach acids. Bland foods may be helpful. Liquids are also very important prior to and following surgery. At least four 8-ounce glasses of fluid are recommended.”
Patients need to stay away from some foods and drinks after surgery. Balshi said, “We suggest that patients avoid carbonate beverages immediately following surgery. These drinks can loosen clots which can interfere with healing. In addition, the sugar and preservatives in soda are not optimal for bone metabolism.”
“For the human body’s engine to run at top speed it needs the right fuel. When you look at the physical consequences of malnutrition and the devastating way that the body reacts to a lack of nutrition, it is a wakeup call.” stated Dr. Balshi.
Prior to surgery, patients receive pre-treatment instructions about diet and fluid intake as well as a list of recommended vitamins.
Nutritional Instructions After Surgery
While undergoing dental implant treatment, patients should maintain their current body weight to ensure proper healing. This is not the time to begin a new diet and skipping meals is not suggested. Nutritional supplements and vitamins are encouraged.
Immediately following surgery, patients should avoid hot beverages and carbohydrate beverages. Liquids only should be taken until all numbness wears off. Soft foods are recommended for one to two days after extractions, and for 3 months following implant surgery.
Not eating correctly can result in fatigue, headache, dehydration and delayed wound healing. For patients with health conditions such as diabetes, particular care must be taken in maintaining food intake. Diabetics should also closely monitor blood sugar.
Cups Full of Nutritious Enjoyment
Following dental surgery, finding foods that are both nutritious and enjoyable is not always easy. Pi Dental Center has produced a cookbook called, “From Soup to Nuts.” This hardcover book is designed to provide nourishing recipes for dental patients as they progress through each stage of treatment. “From Soup to Nuts,” is available in our office and on the Pi Dental Center website.
Nutritional Resources Outside of Pi Dental Center
The Fort Washington area, where Pi Dental Center is located, offers abundant resources for anyone interested in nutrition. These range from individual consultations, group sessions, movies, and discussions to farm cooperatives, cooking classes, and other activities.
The Giant Food Stores provide individual nutrition consultations by certified nutritionists and dieticians in their Flourtown, Willow Grove and Montgomeryville stores. Consultations are tailored to specific health concerns. In addition, the nutrition department teaches a variety of free group classes geared toward healthy lifestyle. The fee for a one-on-one session is twenty dollars. However, following the consultation, the student receives a $20 gift card—so the session is essentially free. Topics of group classes vary depending on the season. April is healthy eating month with a focus on seasonal fruits and vegetables. May is gluten free month. Giant’s Nutrition Program also goes to people’s homes, health fairs, schools and wellness events. Courtney Schoepe MA, RD, LDN runs the nutrition program at the Flourtown Giant. Courtney is a licensed Registered Dietitian. Courtney said, “Subjects that may be discussed during individual counseling sessions include weight loss management, food allergies, gluten free diets, heart-healthy diets and digestive issues.” To schedule a consultation or learn more, she can be reached at (215) 836-4300.
The Pennypack Farm & Education Center is a local community supported farm that offers a variety programs and services including providing locally-produced, healthy, toxin-free food, teaching environmental education to children and adults. Pennypack Farm has two locations—in Horsham and Fort Washington.
The U.S. Department of agriculture website choosemyplate.gov addresses many issues and includes information such as meal plans, sample menus, recipes, budget tips, calorie charts and BMI calculators.
Opinions about food choices and diet vary considerably. There are a number of new books about nutrition available; some are considered controversial. One of them is, now on the bestseller list, is called, “Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers” by David Perlmutter and Kristin Loberg. Another is called, “Sugar Nation: The Hidden Truth Behind America’s Deadliest Habit and the Simple Way to Beat It,” by Jeff O’Connell.
Pi Dental Center continues to restore patient’s smiles maximizing patient enjoyment of foods and promoting healthier diets. Feel free to discuss nutrition with your doctor at your next office visit. Look for upcoming blogs about dental care and nutrition and health on our web site.
In the photo: Dr. Thomas Balshi, Pennypack Farm Greenhouse, field and display, Pi Dental Center’s “From Soup to Nuts Cookbook,” Sustainability Series event.
By Chris Raines