Q:

Why rinse your mouth with salt water after a tooth extraction?

A:

Quick Answer

After any tooth extraction, patients should rinse the oral surgical area with warm salt water and a gentle swishing action to prevent infection and promote healing according to the International Dental Health Foundation. Rigorous brushing too soon following an extraction can cause more damage and slow healing.

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Full Answer

Patients are advised by dentalhealth.org to gently rinse the mouth with warm salt water 24 hours after tooth extraction surgery. Rinsing with salt water helps to clean and heal the site of the surgery. Any rigorous brushing or use of strong over-the-counter commercial mouthwashes in the area of surgery can dislodge the blood clot that forms within the socket. The blood clot protects gum tissue and the mandible from further damage and infection. Dislodging the clot could cause unnecessary pain, lead to possible infection and lengthen the healing process.

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