Things To Avoid After Tooth Extraction: A Guide to a Smooth Recovery

By Jason Wesley

Updated On

Hey there, if you’ve recently had a tooth extracted, you’re probably eager to get back to your normal routine. But hold on a minute! Proper aftercare is crucial to ensure a smooth and speedy recovery. Tooth extraction is a common dental procedure that involves removing a tooth from its socket in the jaw bone.

While it may be necessary to address issues like severe decay, infection, or crowding, the recovery process requires some extra TLC. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through a comprehensive list of things to avoid after tooth extraction, so you can navigate your healing journey like a pro.

Key Takeaways

  1. Follow your dentist’s post-extraction instructions carefully to minimize the risk of complications and promote healing.
  2. Avoid smoking, using straws, and consuming hard or crunchy foods during the recovery period.
  3. Engage in gentle oral hygiene practices and refrain from touching the extraction site to prevent infection and promote blood clot formation.

Follow the Dentist’s Instructions

First and foremost, it’s essential to follow your dentist’s post-extraction instructions to the letter. Your dentist is the expert here, and their guidance is tailored to your unique situation.

Every extraction is different, and the specific instructions you receive may vary based on factors like the location of the extracted tooth, the complexity of the procedure, and your overall health.

Disregarding these instructions can lead to complications, delay healing, and even result in a painful condition called dry socket. Trust your dentist’s advice and follow their instructions diligently.

Avoid Smoking and Tobacco Products

If you’re a smoker, it’s time to put that habit on hold. Smoking and using tobacco products can wreak havoc on your healing process. The chemicals in cigarettes and other tobacco products can delay blood clot formation, which is essential for proper healing (Ozkan et al., 2011).

Smoking also increases the risk of infection and can lead to a condition called dry socket, where the blood clot becomes dislodged, exposing the bone and nerves in the extraction site.

This can be incredibly painful and may require additional treatment. Do yourself a favor and steer clear of smoking and tobacco during your recovery.

Steer Clear of Hard and Crunchy Foods

While you may be craving your favorite crunchy snacks, it’s best to stick to a soft food diet immediately after tooth extraction.

Hard and crunchy foods can dislodge the blood clot, irritate the extraction site, and impede the healing process. Imagine biting down on a crispy potato chip and feeling a sharp pain in your extraction site – not fun! Instead, opt for soft, easy-to-chew foods like smoothies, yogurt, mashed potatoes, and scrambled eggs. Gradually reintroduce solid foods as your healing progresses and you feel more comfortable.

Related Article: Best Foods To Eat After Tooth Extraction

Avoid Drinking Through a Straw

Sipping on a refreshing milkshake through a straw may seem harmless, but it can actually cause some serious issues after tooth extraction. The suction created by drinking through a straw can dislodge the blood clot, exposing the extraction site to air, food particles, and bacteria.

This can lead to a painful condition called dry socket, which occurs when the blood clot fails to form or becomes dislodged (Mamoun, 2018).

Trust us; you don’t want to deal with the intense pain and prolonged healing time that comes with dry socket. Drink directly from a cup or glass to avoid this unnecessary complication.

Do Not Rinse or Spit Vigorously

It’s tempting to want to rinse your mouth out after tooth extraction, but it’s crucial to exercise caution. Rinsing or spitting vigorously can disrupt the blood clot formation and dislodge the delicate healing tissues.

During the first 24 hours after extraction, avoid rinsing altogether. After that, you can gently rinse with a warm saltwater solution to help keep the extraction site clean and promote healing (American Dental Association, 2021).

Remember, gentle is the keyword here. Vigorous rinsing or spitting can set you back in your recovery, so take it easy and be mindful of your movements.

Avoid Strenuous Physical Activity

While staying active is generally good for your health, engaging in strenuous physical activities too soon after tooth extraction can be counterproductive. Intense exercise and heavy lifting can increase blood flow and pressure in the extraction site, potentially dislodging the blood clot and disrupting the healing process (Bailey, 2020).

It’s best to avoid activities that get your heart rate up or put strain on your jaw for at least 48-72 hours after the procedure.

Opt for low-impact activities like gentle walking or stretching instead. As you start feeling better, gradually reintroduce more strenuous activities under the guidance of your dentist.

Do Not Touch the Extraction Site

We know it’s tempting to poke and prod at the extraction site with your tongue or fingers but resist the urge! Touching the area can introduce harmful bacteria and increase the risk of infection. It can also dislodge the blood clot, leading to complications like dry socket.

Let the extraction site heal undisturbed, and be gentle when brushing your teeth or eating. If you notice any debris or food particles near the extraction site, gently rinse with warm saltwater instead of trying to remove them manually.

Avoid Hot and Spicy Foods

In the days following your tooth extraction, it’s best to steer clear of hot and spicy foods. These foods can irritate the extraction site and cause discomfort. Spicy foods, in particular, can cause a burning sensation and delayed healing (Kim et al., 2015).

Stick to lukewarm or cold foods and drinks, and avoid anything that may cause irritation or pain. As your healing progresses, you can slowly reintroduce these foods back into your diet, but listen to your body and stop if you experience any discomfort.

Be Mindful of Alcohol Consumption

While celebrating your successful tooth extraction with a glass of wine may be tempting, it’s important to be mindful of your alcohol consumption during the healing process. Alcohol can interfere with blood clot formation and increase the risk of dry socket (Shah et al., 2012).

It can also interact with any pain medications prescribed by your dentist, leading to adverse side effects. If you do choose to drink alcohol, wait at least 48 hours after your extraction and consume it in moderation. Always follow your dentist’s specific instructions regarding alcohol consumption during your recovery.


Recovering from a tooth extraction doesn’t have to be a daunting experience. By following your dentist’s instructions and avoiding the things we’ve discussed in this blog post, you can set yourself up for a smooth and speedy recovery.

Remember to be patient with yourself and give your body the time it needs to heal. If you experience any unusual symptoms or severe pain, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist for guidance.

With a little extra care and attention, you’ll be back to your normal routine in no time. Take this opportunity to rest, relax, and indulge in some self-care. Your oral health is worth the effort, and by taking the necessary precautions, you can ensure a successful recovery and a healthy, beautiful smile for years to come.


1. Q: How long should I avoid solid foods after tooth extraction?

A: It’s generally recommended to stick to a soft food diet for at least 24-48 hours after tooth extraction. Gradually reintroduce solid foods as your comfort level improves, but avoid hard, crunchy, or chewy foods until the extraction site has healed completely.

2. Q: Can I brush my teeth after tooth extraction?

A: Yes, you can brush your teeth after tooth extraction, but be extremely gentle around the extraction site. Avoid brushing the extraction site directly for the first few days, and use a soft-bristled toothbrush to minimize irritation. Your dentist may also recommend using an antibacterial mouthwash to help keep the area clean.

3. Q: When can I resume strenuous physical activities after tooth extraction?

A: It’s best to avoid strenuous physical activities for at least 48-72 hours after tooth extraction. This allows time for the blood clot to form and the initial healing process to take place. Gradually reintroduce more intense activities as your healing progresses and you feel more comfortable. Always follow your dentist’s specific instructions regarding physical activity during your recovery.

4. Q: What should I do if I accidentally dislodge the blood clot?

A: If you accidentally dislodge the blood clot, contact your dentist immediately. They may need to clean the extraction site and place a new dressing to promote healing. In the meantime, avoid rinsing, spitting, or touching the area, and follow your dentist’s instructions for managing discomfort.

Jason Wesley

Jason Wesley, DDS, is a highly skilled dentist specializing in cosmetic dentistry, renowned for his commitment to excellence and patient-centered care. With years of experience in the field, he is deeply committed to helping individuals achieve their dream smiles through personalized treatment plans tailored to their unique needs.

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