While losing teeth as a kid was something to look forward to, tooth extraction as an adult is a much less pleasant prospect. Unfortunately, it may become necessary for a variety of reasons, from wisdom teeth to tooth decay or even the need to make room in your mouth for braces or other orthodontic treatments.
No matter the reason, taking care of yourself after a tooth extraction is important to ensure that you heal properly and quickly.
As a tenet of good oral hygiene, many people wonder, “Can I brush my teeth after tooth extraction?”. Let's explore this question further and discuss what kind of aftercare you should do following a successful extraction procedure.
Is It Safe To Brush Your Teeth After Tooth Extraction?: A Quick Look
The short answer is yes, but you’ll need to make a few changes to your brushing routine. After a few days, you will begin brushing your teeth, but you’ll need to be careful not to disturb the extraction site. This means using a soft-bristle brush lightly on your teeth and a saltwater rinse (or whatever your doctor recommends) on the wound site. You should also avoid flossing, as this causes additional bleeding and discomfort.
When Can I Brush My Teeth After Tooth Extraction?
According to Medical News Today, you should begin brushing and flossing as usual around day three of recovery. Although other sources suggest it be done earlier in the recovery process, it’s much better to wait just a few days.
It may seem counterintuitive, but brushing too soon following extraction actually slows down the healing process. This is because the area of gum where the tooth has been removed will remain very delicate and susceptible to bacteria until it has had time to heal completely, which usually happens around seven days into the recovery process.
Tooth Extraction Aftercare
Now that we’ve answered “Can I brush my teeth after tooth extraction?”, it’s time to answer “How do I do so safely?”. Here are a few tips for making the process relatively painless so that you get back to your regular brushing routine as quickly and safely as possible.
Use A Soft-Bristled Brush
Soft-bristled brushes are a key part of getting back to brushing after tooth extraction. Hard bristles cause pain and may even damage the delicate tissue surrounding extracted teeth. Choose a brush with soft, rounded bristles to minimize irritation and protect your mouth from further injury.
We suggest either changing your existing brush head or buying a new toothbrush for brushing after tooth extraction. Bacteria collects on toothbrushes that would normally present very little threat to your health, but with an open wound from tooth extraction, this bacteria is much more dangerous.
Don’t Clean The Teeth Adjacent To The Wounded Area
The extraction site is going to cause you pain without you even having to touch it, so don’t create more discomfort for yourself by disrupting the healing process. Instead, concentrate on cleaning your other teeth and allowing the extraction site to heal naturally.
If the extraction site has food stuck in it or is feeling unclean, a light rinse could be a good option twenty-four hours after your extraction. Sometimes your doctor will offer a syringe to target the wound with a rinse, or you may rinse your mouth per the instructions below.
Consider Rinsing Your Mouth
As previously mentioned, rinsing is a great option to keep the extraction site clean. 24 hours after removal, you should rinse your mouth with the rinse given to you by your doctor or warm salt water. This will help keep the area clean, reduce bacteria, and aid in healing.
You should mix about half a teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water, swish gently around the extraction site for thirty to sixty seconds, then spit the water into the sink. This should be done before and after sleep and after meals every day for the first few weeks to keep the extraction site clean and healthy.
Floss Your Teeth After A Week
As previously stated, flossing does more harm than good if you bring it back into your routine too early in the healing process. It’s important to allow your gums and the extraction site a week of rest after the strain of extraction. After that, you begin flossing again – but do so gently. It’s important to be gentle and not force the floss too far down between the teeth at the extraction site, as this could irritate the area and/or lead to further damage.
Wait To Whiten Your Teeth
Teeth whitening is often recommended after a tooth extraction to help reduce any discoloration that may have been caused by the procedure. However, it’s important to wait at least two weeks before attempting this so that your mouth has had time to heal properly and you avoid any potential infection.
Eat Soft Foods
Although this isn’t an actual part of brushing your teeth, eating soft or liquid foods will make recovery easier and less painful, and that goes for brushing, too.
These foods won’t get stuck in your teeth, so you won’t feel the need to floss or brush with extra vigor.
We recommend beginning your healing process by eating lukewarm or room-temperature yogurt, apple sauce, certain soups, and ice cream for the first few days. By day three, we suggest moving to foods with more substance, like oatmeal, mashed potatoes, and scrambled eggs. By day five, you are back to your regular diet.
Good oral hygiene is important to prevent tooth extraction from happening in the future. After a week of following the above protocols, you should return to your teeth cleaning routine and potentially make some positive changes.
First and foremost, make sure you are brushing your teeth twice a day with toothpaste that has fluoride. This will help to prevent bacteria and plaque buildup on your teeth, which have the potential to cause decay and cavities. Flossing is also helpful for getting stubborn food particles and plaque out of your teeth.
It’s also important to visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups. This is the best way to ensure that your teeth are in good health and that any problems are addressed before they become more serious.
When Can You Brush Your Teeth After Wisdom Tooth Extraction?
Wisdom teeth removal is pretty similar to any tooth extraction. The UK’s National Health Service states that you should be able to return to brushing normally “after a few days”, advising to only rinse after twenty-four hours.
When you visit your dentist or orthodontist to have your wisdom teeth removed, they will usually discuss the aftercare process with you, which may include advice on when and how to brush your teeth afterward. It’s important that you follow this advice carefully, as it helps reduce the risk of infection and other complications from developing.
Can I Brush With Toothpaste After Tooth Extraction?
Brushing with regular toothpaste is off-limits until the area has healed completely. Brushing with standard toothpaste might irritate or even damage the wound where your tooth was removed.
Instead of brushing with regular toothpaste, you should clean the wound gently with warm salt water rinses several times a day. Rinsing will help to keep the socket clear of food debris and bacteria which could cause infection or further complications. You should continue this practice until all signs of healing have taken place in the area where your tooth was removed, then you may return to regular brushing with toothpaste.
What Happens If You Don't Brush Your Teeth After Tooth Extraction?
Technically, you shouldn't brush your teeth right after tooth extraction, so nothing bad will happen if you don't. After twenty-four hours, you should begin lightly rinsing the extraction site and lightly brushing the teeth that don't surround the extraction site.
If you weren't to brush at all after an extraction, it could lead to the development of bacteria and plaque, which causes a condition called dry socket. Dry socket is an infection that occurs when the blood clot at the extraction site fails to form or gets dislodged. Without a protective layer of a clot, your exposed bone and nerves become vulnerable to extreme pain as well as infection.
What Happens If You Use Toothpaste After Tooth Extraction?
As stated above, toothpaste should not be used after tooth extraction.
Toothpaste contains ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate, which causes irritation to the tissue around the extraction site, and fluoride, which irritates already sensitive tissues. Additionally, brushing too soon or too vigorously has the potential to dislodge blood clots that are essential for healing.
Instead of toothpaste, use a saltwater rinse or antiseptic mouthwash to help clean the area. This will reduce your risk of infection and aid in healing. As for the rest of your teeth, just use warm water on the bristles of a soft-bristle toothbrush.
Can I Brush My Teeth With Toothpaste 3 Days After Tooth Extraction?
The answer is yes – as long as you are careful and gentle when doing so. After all, brushing your teeth is an important part of good oral hygiene practices that helps remove plaque and bacteria from teeth, preventing cavities and gum disease in the process.
However, due to the fact that your gums and the extraction site are still healing, it is important to wait until those three days are up before reintroducing toothpaste into your dental hygiene regimen.
Can I Brush My Teeth With Salt After Tooth Extraction?
Despite salt water being good for healing the extraction site, it's only good in a small dosage diluted by water. Brushing your teeth with salt actually does more harm than good, as it may irritate the area of the extraction and slow down the healing process.
After an extraction, you should brush your teeth twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush and water at first, then slowly introduce a small amount of fluoride-containing toothpaste. Doing so will help remove plaque, reduce your risk for cavities, and maintain the health of other teeth.
Is It OK To Miss Brushing Your Teeth Once?
It's easy to miss brushing your teeth in our fast-paced world, and it's even easier to become paranoid that forgetting to brush your teeth once causes complications that would lead to tooth extraction. Fortunately, that's not the case. While you should be brushing your teeth twice a day every day to prevent health issues that are caused by buildup over time, it's not the end of the world if you forget to do so once.
How Should You Clean Your Teeth After Wisdom Teeth Removal?
Just like any tooth removal, you need to keep your teeth clean in different ways than usual to ensure proper healing of your gums. If you have recently had wisdom teeth extracted, it is important that you follow the instructions given by your dentist and make sure that your mouth is as clean and healthy as possible during the recovery period.
The most important part of tooth extraction aftercare is keeping the area clean. This means brushing away from the extraction site twice a day and rinsing the site after meals and before and after sleep. During the recovery period, it’s best not to use any type of toothpaste or alcohol-based mouthwash. Instead, use warm water on a soft-bristle toothbrush and a homemade saltwater rinse.
Summing Things Up
Now, to anyone who asks, “Can I brush my teeth after tooth extraction?”, you can offer a firm, “Yes!’, but be sure that your answer is followed by a few stipulations:
Twenty-four hours after the extraction, you can brush your teeth lightly with a new soft-bristle brush head using warm water without toothpaste. You should only brush teeth that are not adjacent to the extraction site and use a gentle saltwater or dentist-recommended rinse to clean out the site itself.