We have all experienced the annoyance of having food stuck in the gaps between our teeth. It is uncomfortable, distracting, and sometimes even painful. But for those who have recently undergone a wisdom tooth extraction, this common annoyance can become an even more significant concern as it can lead to undesirable consequences such as an delayed healing or an infection.
In fact, this is a common issue that many people experience after getting their wisdom tooth extracted. The void caused by the extraction are notorious for trapping food particles. What’s more, they are particularly difficult to clean as they are positioned far back in the mouth.
Fortunately, there are several ways to get food out of the wisdom tooth hole and alleviate the pain and discomfort caused by it. In the rest of this article, we will elaborate on the practical tips and tricks on dealing with food stuck in the extraction site and the practical steps that you can take to keep the area clean and healthy.
Why Is Food Stuck in Wisdom Tooth Hole?
Food can get stuck in wisdom teeth sockets for several reasons:
- Open space: After a wisdom tooth extraction, a hole is left in the socket where the removed wisdom tooth once was. This socket creates a pocket of space where food particles can become trapped.
- Blood clot formation: A blood clot typically forms in the socket to protect the underlying bone and nerves during the recovery period. However, this sticky clot meant to stop bleeding and protect the exposed hole can also inadvertently catch food particles as you eat.
- Gum tissue flaps: Sometimes, gum tissue surrounding the extraction site may create small flaps or pockets, which can easily trap food particles. Food that are trapped in these tissue flaps can be difficult to clean as they are hidden away from view.
- Altered chewing patterns: After a wisdom tooth extraction, you may chew differently to avoid discomfort or pain in the extraction site. This altered chewing pattern can cause food to be pushed into the socket.
As seen, there are different reasons why food can get stuck in the wisdom tooth hole. Fortunately, there are numerous methods available to get those pesky food particles out of the wisdom tooth hole.
Ways to Get Food Out of Wisdom Tooth Hole
Food that is stuck in your wisdom tooth hole must be promptly addressed as it can lead to an infection if not cleared. This is even more so if you just recently had your wisdom tooth removed and the wound has yet to fully healed from the dental procedure. Here are some simple methods recommended by dentists on getting food out of the wisdom tooth hole:
- Rinse your mouth gently with warm salt water. Make you own saltwater rinse by mixing 1/2 teaspoon of water with 8 ounces of warm water. Swish the rinse in your mouth for about 30 seconds before spitting it out. The saltwater rinse helps to wash away any food debris that may be stuck in the wisdom tooth socket while inhibit the grow of bacteria by increasing the pH level inside the mouth. However, be careful not to dislodge the blood clot or irritate the extraction site.
- Rinse your mouth with herbal tea or mouthwash. If you find saltwater uncomfortable, consider herbal tea or mouthwash instead. Herbal tea such as green tea or chamomile tea are soothing to the gum and contains anti-inflammatory properties which reduces inflammation such as redness, swelling, and pain. On the other hand, mouthwash provides several benefits including cavity protection, gum disease protection as well as reduces sensitivity in the tooth.
- Swab the hole with a cotton swab. Using a sterile cotton swab, gently clean the inside of the wisdom tooth hole. The food debris should slide away from the hole with the cotton swab. However, be careful when wiping the hole as you can irritate the blood clot and cause discomfort.
- Wash the wisdom tooth hole with a curved-tip syringe: Fill up a curve-tip syringe with warm or salt water. Place the tip of the syringe near the extraction site and flush the area with water. The syringe creates a jet of water that clears the wisdom tooth hole free of any food particles. Alternatively, you may use a water flosser for added pressure. Do note that you should not use too much pressure as you may accidentally dislodge the blood clot.
How to Keep Wisdom Tooth Hole Clean
Prevention is better than cure. You should always work to get your wisdom tooth hole clean and healthy to prevent an infection from occurring. Here are what you can do to maintain a clean extraction site:
- Brush the area gently. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, gently brush around the extraction site to remove any food particles or debris that may be stuck in the back of the mouth. Do not brush directly in the wisdom tooth hole as you risk dislodging the blood clot and causing bleeding.
- Avoid smoking during recovery period. Smoking or the use of tobacco products can hinder the healing process and increase the risk of an infection.
- Avoid alcohol. Alcohol can thin the blood and increase the risk of bleeding, which can dislodge the blood clot and delay healing
- Stick to a soft-food diet and avoid hard or crunchy food. During the first week or two after your wisdom tooth extraction, have soft food that are easy to chew and swallow. Examples of soft food include scrambled egg, soups, mashed potatoes, and yogurt. This makes it easy to consume food and reduces the risk of getting food stuck in the extraction site.
- Chew on the opposite side of your mouth. To avoid getting food particles stuck in the extraction site, try to eat on the opposite side of your mouth.
In conclusion, dealing with food stuck in a wisdom tooth hole can be a frustrating and uncomfortable part of the post-extraction healing process. However, by employing the proper techniques and precautions, you can effectively manage this issue and promote a smoother recovery. Remember to be gentle when rinsing with warm salt water, use a curved-tip syringe, and swab away any remaining food debris with a cotton swab.
Last but not least, follow the tips outlined as well as your dentist’s advice to ensure a clean and infection-free wisdom tooth hole. The key is to be proactive in your oral hygiene and remember that, with time, your mouth will heal and you will be back to enjoying all your favorite foods!