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When Can I Brush My Teeth After a Tooth Extraction

Updated: Jan 5

The most practical recommendation would be to brush your teeth the day after the tooth extraction because that is the earliest and safest time to do it.


electric toothbrushes with toothpastes on bathroom sink

However, as with all things in life there will be exceptions. If it grosses you out to not brush on the night of the extraction, you may still do it. Although there are strict rules which you must follow for your own safety.


Let us explain when the best time is to brush your teeth after having it removed.


Table of Contents:


The best time to brush after an extraction

The best time to brush your teeth is the morning after your tooth extraction. That is the earliest time which you can do it safely without any increased risk for bleeding.


After the tooth removal, it isn't the act of brushing which is harmful but what comes afterwards, the spitting. Spitting too soon after an extraction can potentially dislodge the unstable blood clot, which would result in continued bleeding. Uncontrolled bleeding is certainly hazardous to your health.


socket after tooth extraction
socket after tooth extraction

Therefore the brushing restriction is solely due to the need to spit out the toothpaste after you're done brushing. The developing blood clot isn't stable enough to handle spitting pressure on the day of the surgery.


However the morning after your extraction, the blood clot should've stabilized enough to handle spitting. That is why the safest time to brush your teeth again would be the next day after your tooth removal.


Can I brush on the day of pulling a tooth?

It is not recommended to brush on the night of having your tooth extracted due to an increased bleeding risk from spitting out toothpaste. The blood clot hasn't matured enough to be able to withstand the act of expelling toothpaste without the socket bleeding again.


wisdom tooth extraction socket
wisdom tooth extraction socket

However if you can't live with the idea of not brushing before going to bed, you can still do it but you must practice extreme caution.


Tips on how to do it safely:

  • Brush very gently. It is okay to use toothpaste and you can brush your teeth as you normally do. Just make sure you go slowly and brush very gently when you get close to the tooth socket. The area will be tender and sore from the surgical procedure.

  • Do not spit. After you're done brushing, do not spit out the toothpaste residue forcefully. nor should you swish with any force. Drink water into your mouth and move your head around instead of swishing. Then you should just let the water dribble out of your mouth with gravity instead of forcefully spitting.


If you do the above two steps very carefully, you should be able to prevent the blood clot from dislodging. If you're lucky you may not bleed at all but if you do, you'll need to resume using gauze again.


You may do this at your own risk... but in our opinion the best and safer way is to simply wait for the morning afterwards. There will be no bleeding risk if you wait for tomorrow.


How to brush after an extraction

Just because your mouth is sore from having a tooth extracted, it does not excuse you from oral hygiene for a week. You must and should resume brushing as soon as you can because tooth decay does not care if you're "not up for it."


Brushing tips:

  • Brush carefully. You can brush as you normally do for all of your teeth except when you get to the teeth adjacent to the extraction site. Go slowly and brush gently once you get close to the socket. The area will be tender from having a tooth taken out so you want to give it extra care.

  • Use toothpaste. Yes you should still use toothpaste because it has fluoride and that helps to prevent tooth decay. You're actually at an increased risk for cavities after the extraction since you're most likely not brushing as well. The toothpaste also makes the brushing more comfortable because dry brushing can hurt!

  • Lightly brush the socket. If you see food near the tooth socket, you can lightly brush it to try to get rid of it. Some people can end up with food getting stuck in their wisdom tooth hole.


Just to drive the point home, the consequence of abandoning oral hygiene for an entire risk would be an increased chance for cavities. After the oral surgery procedure, the last thing you'd probably want to do is have to see your dentist again for a dental filling!


Takeaway

To summarize, the most practical recommendation for when to brush after an extraction is the morning after. That is the safest time to do it because spitting out toothpaste can induce bleeding from the tooth socket since the blood clot isn't stable. The day after the procedure is a different story because the clot would've had time to mature and stabilize enough to withstand intraoral spitting pressure!


As a friendly reminder, you're given a free pass from brushing on the night of your procedure but you must resume the next day. So please don't think that since you've had a surgical procedure done, it'll excuse you oral hygiene practices. Tooth decay does not wait for anyone!


Last but not least, there are a lot of other dos and don'ts after taking out a tooth so please review those as well. Our dentists in Long Island City wish you the best of luck and a speedy recovery from your surgical procedure.

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About the author: Dr David Chen, DDS

Hello, I'm Dr Chen and I'm an actively practicing dentist in Long Island City, NY. I graduated from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine in 2016 but prior to going to dental school I was already working in the dental field. It's been more than a decade since I first got to know dentistry and let me tell you, time flies by quickly. Since then I've developed a fondness for writing, which is how this all got started!

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Medical Disclaimer:

This blog is purely meant for information purposes and should not be used as medical advice. Each situation in your mouth is unique and complex. It is not possible to give advice nor diagnose any oral conditions based on text nor virtual consultations. The best thing to do is to go in person to see your dentist for an examination and consultation so that you can receive the best care possible.

The purpose of all of this oral health information is to encourage you to see your dentist and to inform you of what you may expect during your visit. Due to the unfortunate nature of dentistry, there isn't really any true home remedies that will get rid of dental problems. Roughly 99.99% of them require in-person intervention by a healthcare professional.

Hint: That is the reason why you can't eliminate seeing dentists in your life!

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