Getting Bad Breath After a Tooth Extraction? Causes and Cures

Getting Bad Breath After a Tooth Extraction? Causes and Cures

While the area of tooth extraction closes, food and other particles can gather inside. You may think this is a cause of your bad breath, but it’s not. It’s actually a type of bacteria that causes the bad odor. The buildup of food substances that stay in your mouth causes the formation of more bacteria that cause bad breath.

What can cause bad breath after a tooth extraction?

There are a number of factors which can contribute singly or in combination to produce bad breath after a tooth extraction. Thankfully, once identified it is much easier to create a home strategy to deal with them. Some factors to look out for are as follows:

  • Bleeding – For two to three days after tooth extraction, the wound can bleed occasionally. The blood flow can be a cause for bad breath as well as a bad taste in your mouth.
  • Not being able to clean your teeth and gums properly – The site of the tooth extraction is sensitive and should stay mostly undisturbed while it begins to heal. As a result, you can’t really rinse, brush, or floss properly near the extraction site. This can cause the buildup of food particles, which as mentioned earlier, can lead to the formation of bacteria and the cause of bad breath.
  • Pain Medications – Your dentist will usually prescribe you medicine for pain and to prevent the wound from getting infected. However, most medications can cause you to have a dry mouth, hence, bad breath.
  • Dry Socket -This occurs when the blood clot that forms in the tooth extraction site is dislodged or oozes from the socket. As a result, bone and nerves are left exposed. One of the indicators of a dry socket is if you notice bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth a couple of days after the extraction procedure. These symptoms are also accompanied by a throbbing pain that can sometimes radiate to your ear. Proper treatment of dry socket comes from your dentist. They will place some medicated gauze in the extraction area. You might have to visit your dentist more than once for treatment or until the pain subsides. Dry socket is a painful condition. Thankfully, only a small percentage of all tooth extractions can result in this – around 2%-5%.

You may be at a higher risk for dry socket after tooth extraction if you:

–   Smoke

–   Use birth control pills

–   Have a history of dry socket

–   Have an infection in the tooth extraction area

–   Have poor oral hygiene

What to do to improve bad breath

after a tooth extraction

Getting Bad Breath After a Tooth Extraction? Causes and Cures
PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

Good oral hygiene can ensure that the area of tooth extraction heals faster, can help prevent infection, lessens bad breath, and keeps your mouth fresh. However, you need to keep in mind that the blood clot in the tooth extraction area should remain undisturbed for the first 24-48 hours so the wound can heal properly.

This is why, for this period of time, you should not vigorously brush or floss near the extraction area.

Here are some things you can do:

  • Use a damp, folded piece of gauze to stop the bleeding. Place the gauze on the tooth extraction site and bite down on it gently to keep it in place. Do this for about an hour or until the bleeding stops.
  • To help keep your mouth fresh, sip slowly on water.
  • Stay hydrated, especially if your medications cause dry mouth. Aside from sipping on water, eating healthy foods helps with this.
  • You can also use mouthwash 24 hours before your tooth extraction. This helps prevent the buildup of bacteria.
  • Twenty-four hours following the extraction, you can use warm salt water or mouthwash and gently swish it around your mouth. This can be done twice a day.(Note: Do not use mouthwash for the first 24 hours. If your dentist advises you to wait longer, do so.)
  • To get rid of bacteria, use an antiseptic mouthwash after each meal.
  • To maintain good oral hygiene while still being mindful of the still healing wound, brush your teeth twice a day using a soft bristle toothbrush and use lukewarm water to gargle after.
  • Use a tongue scraper to clean your tongue.
Getting Bad Breath After a Tooth Extraction? Causes and Cures
Free-Photos / Pixabay

Other tips

  • Avoid drinking from a straw. This can cause suction that can dislodge the blood clot.
  • Smoking after tooth extraction can cause infections. Wait at least 48-72 hours.
  • Don’t touch the area of tooth extraction for at least 24 hours so that initial healing remains undisturbed.
  • If painkillers aren’t doing the trick for your tooth pain, you can ask your dentist to put a soothing dressing on the extraction area. This dressing can encourage the healing process.
  • The best foods to eat following a tooth extraction are foods that you can easily swallow and chew. These can include- cottage cheese, yogurt, soup, pudding or jello, applesauce, mashed potatoes, and oatmeal. Cold foods like ice cream, smoothies, or milkshakes can help soothe tooth pain.
  • If pain or bad breath continues after 3-4 days after the tooth extraction, visit your dentist.


Home Remedies for Bad breath after tooth extraction: Spices, teas, and oils

Getting Bad Breath After a Tooth Extraction? Causes and Cures
monicore / Pixabay

If you don’t like using medications or commercial medicines there are some home remedies which you can try that can help. Many of these you might have in your spice rack or pantry


 ” Many of these you might have in your spice rack.”

already but if you don’t, it’s no big deal. You can certainly obtain these natural remedies quite easily at your local grocery store. Some non-medicinal treatments for bad breath which come highly recommended are as follows:

  • Anise seeds – Anise seeds, a flavor you might recognize from licorice candy and a number of foods that you enjoy, have a breath-freshing quality when eaten roasted or raw. Just be sure it’s been a few days after your extraction so that you don’t risk damaging the clot.
  • Fennel seeds – Popular in India, roasted fennel seeds freshen the breath and have antiseptic properties that can help to keep your mouth cleaner. As with anise seeds, be sure enough time has passed and try to only chew them on the opposite side of the extraction for good measure.
  • Lemon slices – A lemon wedge is a tasty, natural breath freshener, and we recommend that you chew on it, peel and all. This little breath-hack is useful, as you can get them at any restaurant, so chew a lemon when your breath is not quite as pleasant as you might like for a temporary quick-fix.
  • Green tea – Green tea has antiseptic qualities to it as well that can help you out with not-so-fresh breath. Drink a nice cup or for faster healing, you can drink a cup and then place the teabag in front of the extraction area and behind your lip for a few minutes at least three times a day. This tastes great AND speeds up the healing!
  • Cloves or clove oil – You can chew cloves for a bit of breath freshening and natural pain relief. If the extraction is very recent then you can put a couple of drops of clove oil on a cotton ball and place them in front of the extraction area and behind your lips but don’t do this more than twice a day for 2-3 minutes at a time as too much clove can make you feel poorly.
  • Tea tree oil – Tea tree oil has antibacterial properties that can help with bad breath and speed up healing following an extraction. Use the cotton-ball method, as with clove oil, adding 2 – 3 drops to the cotton. Keep it in your mouth for about 5 minutes and repeat 3 times a day for best results.

Home Remedies for Bad breath after tooth extraction: Vitamins, minerals, and enzymes

Getting Bad Breath After a Tooth Extraction? Causes and Cures
silviarita / Pixabay

Aside from spices, teas, and oils, sometimes the rights vitamins or minerals can really make a difference. Just because the bad breath is occurring immediately after the extraction does not necessarily mean some food has become trapped in the extraction point. There are other reasons that the bad breath can occur, such as poor digestion of medicines or even a vitamin imbalance after the resultant bleeding which occurs with a tooth extraction. Some things to stock up on before your extraction (or to pick up as needed) are as follows:

  • Zinc – While more research is needed, studies indicate that getting yourself a Zinc mouthwash to rinse with can help to reduces VSC’s, or ‘volatile sulfur compounds’ that can build up in your mouth and cause bad breath. Use this if you some of the other methods only seem to help temporarily, as it may be a more complex problem than just the extraction at play.
  • Vitamin C – Combat the dryness of mouth that occurs with post-extraction medications with your old friend Vitamin C. Studies have shown that Vitamin C stimulates saliva production, which can help to reduce or eliminate bad breath if it turns out that your dry mouth is the culprit.
  • Digestive enzymes – If nothing else seems to work, another consideration is your digestion. Poor digestion from medications or even waste-bits from the extraction process might be the cause of the bad breath that is currently haunting you. An easy way to get them without visiting the pharmacy is pineapple, which contains Papain and Bromelain. Give this a try if nothing else seems to be working and you might be pleasantly surprised!

How long can bad breath last after tooth extraction?

Bad breath can last for around 4-5 days after tooth extraction. It should, eventually, go away by itself. If the smell doesn’t fade away, you should think about scheduling a visit to your dentist.

After around 3-5 days, when you are past the risk of having a dry socket, use an irrigation syringe or a Waterpik to keep the extraction site clean and free from bits of food that may get stuck in it. These tools are useful as they can clean parts of your mouth that a toothbrush and floss cannot. They use high pressure water sprays to clean your teeth.

If bad breath lasts longer than 4 – 5 days

If you are not experiencing symptoms of dry socket but you are indeed still suffering from chronic halitosis after an extraction, there are other issues that your doctor or dentist can test for in order to rule out a more extreme scenario. Chronic bad can be one symptom among many for the following medical conditions listed below:

  • diabetes
  • liver disease
  • kidney disease
  • chronic lung infections


That said, please keep in mind that halitosis experienced after an extraction is most likely going to be the result of medication side-effects producing dry mouth or bacterial concerns impeding the healing. We just want to make sure that you are informed so that you can get your dentist involved if nothing else appears to be helping. Always err on the side of your safety!

Getting Bad Breath After a Tooth Extraction? Causes and Cures
AnnaliseArt / Pixabay

In closing

In this article we have tackled the subject of bad breath, clinically known as ‘chronic halitosis’ in regards to its causes and it’s cures. Many of the methods listed within are considered ‘tried and true’ when it comes to dealing with breath issues, so be sure to work your way through the list if you find that certain recommendations are not a good fit. Pay special attention to the Vitamin C suggestion, which we recommend that you start taking immediately following the extraction as it can help prevent dry socket whether you are experiencing any bad breath issues or not. Beyond these suggestions, please don’t hesitate to visit your Dentist if any problems arise. While many of us are frightened of those visits, failure to get help when needed can turn a simple issue into something more severe. In the meantime, give our suggestions a try and see their efficacy for yourself. You’ll be sure to breathe easier!

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