Tea Bags and Tooth Extractions: What You Need to Know
After a tooth extraction, dentists will give patients gauze to bite down on immediately. The extraction site may continue to bleed a bit and then ooze for a day or so afterward. This is normal, but it’s not something that people want to deal with. A solution that is often more efficient than stuffing gauze in your mouth is to use a tea bag.
Tannins and Bleeding
Green and black tea contain tannins. These are compounds that contribute to the bitter taste of tea that’s been left to steep for too long. They also promote your body’s ability to create clots, which is exactly what you need to have happen after an extraction.
When you take a wet tea bag that has cooled — never use a hot tea bag, of course — and bite down on it, the tea that seeps from the bag delivers those tannins to the extraction site. A 2014 study found that green tea extract placed on gauze may help as well, but for many people, simply steep a regular bag of tea leaves.
This may sound obvious to some, but if you’re not used to using tea to stop bleeding, don’t use a dry tea bag. You need the tea leaves to be wet so that the tannins can seep out. The moisture in your mouth alone will not be enough to adequately soak the leaves.
The tannins also help stop the growth of microbes, which reduces the chances of infection. Plain gauze won’t have that extra infection-fighting ability.
Green tea may also be better at promoting clotting than black tea, but you can try both and see which works best for you. People aren’t sure how tannins work to promote clotting, although the astringent properties of tannins may be a part of the mechanism. Astringents tend to cause tissues to shrink.
Pressure and Clotting
Tea bags also provide a soft but solid mass that you can bite down on firmly but gently. When you bite down, that increases the pressure on the extraction site. Pressure, of course, promotes good clotting and stopped bleeding. While you could continue to use gauze, the moisture in the tea bag may make the site feel more comfortable to you, compared to having dry gauze rubbing against your gums.
Tea Types and Tannins
As mentioned, green or black tea is necessary. While some herbal teas contain tannins, those teas are not known for their effects on bleeding. When you want to stop an extraction site from oozing, that is not the time to experiment.
Time and Oozing
If the bleeding — not oozing liquids — continues for more than a few hours, call your dentist’s office. This is called post-extraction bleeding, and it needs professional attention. Cochrane notes that a “lack of reliable evidence” exists for post-extraction bleeding remedies, so let your dentist handle the situation.
Oozing is another matter. For about a day or two after the extraction, you may have a watery liquid seeping out. This is residual blood, but this is not the same as bleeding. Tea bags, especially green tea, may reduce the occurrence of oozing. If the oozing continues beyond a couple of days, call your dentist.
A dental office such as Apollo Dental Center offers emergency care and other dental services that can help you manage a tooth extraction. These procedures and the healing time afterward are usually easy to deal with. However, you should always have someone can help you no matter the time of day or night. Call us today to learn more about our dental services and the aftercare we can provide you.