Getting Bad Breath After Tooth Extraction
When you have a tooth extracted, bone and nerve become exposed. It’s an open wound, but a blood clot forms to begin the healing process. It’s normal to have bad breath after the extraction and normally, the smell goes away as the extraction area heals.
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?
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. A sign that you may have dry socket is if you notice bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth 2 days after extraction. 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:
- 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
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.
- 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.
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.