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.
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,
” Ideally the bad breath should go away on its own.”
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.
If you cannot visit the dentist right away
If you cannot see the dentist right away or if you would simply like to hasten healing with some other home methods that you might employ then you are in luck. We’ve compiled some information about some things that you can use from home in order to combat halitosis and in some cases, to help to speed up the healing. When in doubt, of course, always check with your dentist but if you would like to try some home cures first then we’ll give you some good examples.
Home remedies for halitosis from your spice rack
A number of spices that you have at home can prove quite useful for oral hygiene and healing. Keep in mind that they are mostly categorized as breath fresheners, although some of them have antiseptic qualities as well. Check and see if you have a few of these and if you do, then be sure to take advantage of their properties!
- Mint leaves – If your extraction is already clotted you can carefully chew mint leaves to freshen your breath. Aside from the mint itself, the chlorophyll in the leaves is also good for neutralizing bad breath as well, so try this tasty method for yourself!
- Fennel seeds – Fennel seeds are another good choice which has been used in India for ages. Since you want to be careful chewing after an extraction, you can always blend some roasted fennels finely first with a spoonful of ice cream, adding a little more ice cream once the seeds are thoroughly blended. Those sweet fennel seeds contain some useful essential oils that will sweeten up your breath while you enjoy the creamy treat.
- Turmeric paste – Mix a teaspoon of Turmeric with half a teaspoon of water, half a teaspoon of baking powder, and a drop of mint oil. Mix it with a spoon or even your finger until it forms the consistency of a paste. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties and also acts as an analgesic, so you can get these benefits with a bit of mint in the bargain.
- Ginger – Recent studies have shown that Ginger can help to produce enzymes that break down odor causing substances in your mouth. Boiling a few slices for 10 -15 minutes and mixing in 2 – 3 teaspoons of honey can make a tea which you can drink to help to reduce your halitosis and as a bonus, it can also make your throat feel better if it is sore after a dental visit.
Make your own antibacterial mouthwash
While there are a number of commercial mouthwashes that you can use, if you would like to avoid using alcohol-based mouthwashes then you can simply make your own. An excellent mouthwash that you can use after your wisdom tooth extraction just requires some apple cider vinegar and some water. Use bottled if you want to get fancy but tap water will do. To make it, mix together 4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with 2 cups of water. Put it in a 20 oz soda bottle and keep it in the fridge for the week if you like for a cool, healing rinse. Vinegars contain acetic acid, which bacteria is not too fond of, so this can help to reduce the levels of harmful bacteria in your mouth while you are healing. To use it, simply gargle it for 30 seconds and CAREFULLY spit it out. Avoid vigorously spitting it as you want to be very careful while an extraction is freshly clotted.
Need a quick and natural breath freshener? Try lemon slices
If you need a quick breath freshener you can carefully chew a lemon slice. Make sure that you are no longer bleeding or it will sting but if it has been at least 2 days since your extraction then carefully chewing the lemon slice, rind and all (cleaned, of course), can help. Lemons have citric acid in them which will stimulate salivation, which in turn can help to chase away that bad breath. Best of all, lemon slices are easy to find at just about any place that serves mixed drinks or iced tea!
If you’re still having issues but your budget won’t allow a dental visit
Sometimes your budget is stretched to the limits but you are worried after your extraction that something is wrong. Don’t fret. Check for local dental schools in your area. While the initial reaction to this suggestion is a cringe as you imagine a ‘student dentist’ poking around in your mouth you should dispel this image from your mind. First, advanced students are involved and secondly, they are supervised by a practicing dentist. As you are checking for complications rather than having anything more complicated done, you can take advantage and get the opinion of a dentist in training as well as an actual dentist at a fraction of the standard cost. For your information, other procedures are performed at dental schools, such as fillings, crowns, and more, so after your first visit and you realize that this option is not scary at all you should keep this tip in mind. It’s handy in a pinch!
In today’s article we have discussed why bad breath can occur following having your wisdom teeth removed, as well as provided some practical advice which you can use in order to speed your healing, fight that halitosis, and even to obtain dental care on a tight budget. Remember that bad breath immediately following an extraction is fairly common, mostly due to the blood involved, so do your best not to panic and use our tips in order to maximize your healing and to freshen up that ‘extraction breath’. When in doubt, always be sure to see a professional. While there are a number of things that you can do at home after your extraction to help speed along your healing if you think there is an infection or another complication then don’t hesitate. Check with your dentist!