After having your wisdom tooth removed, you may face the problem of bad breath that is very noticeable. This is a common occurrence after wisdom tooth removal; there is nothing to worry about. There are many reasons for why this happens and different things you can do to manage it. The important thing to do is to understand what is going on and take the necessary steps to handle the situation and know when to consult your dentist about it.
Reasons for bad breath after wisdom tooth removal
There are various causes for the bad breath that occurs after having your wisdom tooth removed.
- Bleeding after wisdom tooth extraction: After the wisdom tooth is removed, the empty socket is filled with a blood clot, which is the first step in the process of healing. It is completely normal for the healing site to bleed for a few days after the wisdom tooth removal. This intermittent flow of blood in the mouth can be a cause for bad breath.
- Inability to maintain proper oral hygiene: One of the post-extraction instructions given to you is not to disturb the healing site after the wisdom tooth is removed. This includes avoiding the use of a toothbrush in the area. It may be that there is swelling in the area of the removed wisdom tooth so that both these factors combine to make it difficult to maintain proper oral hygiene after your dental procedure. This causes bad breath due to bacterial action on food particles trapped in your mouth.
- Use of painkillers: Post-extraction use of painkillers in order to manage the pain and swelling that occurs after the dental procedure can cause dry mouth which leads to bad breath.
- Dislodged blood clot which leads to dry socket: If the bad breath occurs along with pain in the extraction site two days after the wisdom tooth has been removed, it is most probably due to dry socket. Dry socket is when the healing process of the extraction site is disturbed and the blood clot is dislodged. This causes the underlying nerves to be exposed, which causes the pain of dry socket.
What can you do for bad breath following wisdom tooth extraction?
Bad breath following wisdom tooth extraction can be very problematic, not to mention embarrassing. Here are some things you can do to reduce your bad breath.
- Brush your teeth twice a day: Even though it is difficult to brush your teeth properly after a wisdom tooth extraction, the swelling and pain should decrease with each passing day, making it easier to brush your teeth. Every day, while being careful to avoid the extraction site, brush your teeth carefully and thoroughly to make sure that all the food particles are removed and your mouth is clean. This will help to reduce the material present in your mouth for bacteria to act on and produce the substances that cause bad breath.
- Using antibacterial mouthwash or salt water: It is a good idea to rinse your mouth with antibacterial mouthwash or salt dissolved in warm water in order to reduce the bacterial load in your mouth. This will reduce the number of bacteria present which will reduce the possibility of bad breath being produced. However, do not do this within the first 24 hours of the extraction, as it may cause the blood clot to be dislodged.
- Use an oral irrigator: Once the period of time has passed in which your dentist has advised you to avoid using a toothbrush in the area of the extraction site, you may use an oral irrigator. This is a device used to clean the mouth which creates a stream of pulsating water which removes food particles from areas of the mouth that are hard to reach otherwise. This will ensure that your mouth is thoroughly clean and there are no food particles left for the bacteria to act upon which causes bad breath.
- Avoid consuming sweet drinks: When you drink sweet drinks, they coat your teeth with sugar. This sugar acts as a material for the bacteria in your mouth to feed on, which in turn causes the production of the substances that cause bad breath. You should prevent this problem by avoiding sugary and sweet drinks for the first several days after your wisdom tooth extraction.
- Sip water frequently throughout the day: As your mouth is dry from using painkillers to manage the pain after the extraction, it can be helpful to sip a little water at frequent intervals throughout the day in order to prevent dry mouth and keep bad breath away.
- Make sure to keep hydrated: You don’t want to be dehydrated in such a situation, which will make the bad breath worse by causing dry mouth. Make sure to drink enough water in a day to prevent dehydration, which is usually eight to ten 8-ounce glasses of water.
- Rinse your mouth after you eat: Even if you find it difficult to brush your teeth the first few days after a tooth extraction, at least rinse out your mouth with water after meals in order to prevent food particles from being stuck in your mouth.
- Avoid disturbing the blood clot at the extraction site: You may feel like cleaning the extraction site while you are cleaning the rest of your mouth, but it is strongly advised to avoid disturbing the healing site, especially during the first few days after the extraction. By preventing the blood clot from being disturbed, you are ensuring that the healing progresses smoothly, which helps to avoid dry socket.
When bad breath after wisdom tooth removal becomes a cause for concern
If the bad breath does not go away after four or five days have passed following the extraction, you should see your dentist again to get a checkup in order to ensure everything is proceeding the way it should. Ideally the bad breath should go away on its own after four or five days.