Root canals are less painful than ever, which is fantastic news for patients of all ages. This includes your little ones. As such, endodontists or dentists may recommend a root canal for your child in order to save an infected tooth. It can surprise some parents to learn that saving any tooth – even a baby tooth – is often preferable to a tooth extraction.

Sure, baby teeth eventually fall out anyways. However, losing baby tooth prematurely can cause real trouble. It can create unnecessary difficulty chewing, delay or distort speech development and, most problematically, throw off the alignment of permanent teeth underneath the affected area. Should the dentist extract a baby tooth before its time, the surrounding teeth may shift out of position in order to fill the new gap left behind. Crooked teeth may then give way to overcrowding once the permanent tooth does attempt to grow in. All of this makes teeth harder to effectively clean and keep healthy. Such issues can easily snowball into years of expensive dental procedures in order to undo the damage.

So, should your child undergo a root canal procedure, the question becomes how to best support their quick and speedy recovery as a parent. The young patient may experience a little soreness or discomfort after the endodontic procedure, which your care provider will have anticipated. Many times, over-the-counter pain relievers designed specifically for children are sufficient. It is also important to keep an eye out for signs of infection and ensure your kid continues to brush and floss as normal. Beyond that, eating the right foods after a root canal is also very helpful.

What Children Can Eat After a Root Canal

Your child should avoid eating anything until numbness from the procedure wears off. Afterwards, soft foods are easier on teeth as swelling subsides and sensitivity becomes less of an issue. Here’s a list of kid-friendly foods for your child to enjoy after his or her root canal:

  • Puréed fruit (like applesauce)
  • Puréed or mashed vegetables (like peas, carrots, potatoes, etc.)
  • Soft, well-cooked vegetables (but be careful to avoid seeds or skin)
  • Soft fruits (like bananas, mangoes, avocados, etc.)
  • Fruit juice or vegetable juice
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Oatmeal (or the cooked cereal your child prefers)
  • Cottage cheese
  • Pudding
  • Yogurt
  • Noodles or pasta
  • Rice
  • Finely ground meat, fish, or poultry
  • Soups (with no large or crunchy vegetables, meats, or grains)
  • White bread
  • Gelatin dessert
  • Ice cream or sherbet (to the delight of most children!)

About the Author

Dr. Harris has been a practicing dentist since 2005. In 2012, he received his Master’s of Science in Dentistry and a certificate in Endodontics. He founded East Coast Endodontics shortly after receiving his master’s degree. He also currently holds a part-time position as a Clinical Assistant Professor for the Endodontics department at Virginia Commonwealth University. View his full bio.