Having a tooth out is not a fun experience. If you want to take the edge of the misery, you may want a cool refreshing beer. But what about the drugs you’ll have taken? And will that cold liquid hurt your newly bare gum? Exactly how long after a tooth extraction can you drink beer?
Never fear, we’re here to help! We’re going to take you through everything you need to know to time that first post-extraction beer to perfection.
So let’s get started!
What is a tooth extraction?
To begin with, let’s look at what’s involved in a tooth extraction.
Your dentist will have recommended this procedure because he or she judges the tooth can’t be saved. The best thing to do is to remove it, so there’s no risk of it infecting your mouth.
There are two kinds of extraction: simple and surgical. A simple extraction is used when the tooth can be seen above the gum line. Enough of the tooth will need to be visible to allow it to be grabbed with forceps.
If that’s not the case, it will be necessary to cut into the gum to remove the tooth. This is a surgical extraction. If you have one of these, you’ll have stitches to help the gum to heal over. You’re also likely to have a course of painkillers prescribed as aftercare.
Wisdom teeth are more often removed by surgical extraction. Teeth that are very broken, or remaining root tips, may also require this procedure.
Occasionally, a simple extraction is begun but can’t be completed. If the tooth breaks during the attempt to remove it, the remaining portion may need to be removed surgically.
Resting your gums
Whether you have a simple or surgical extraction, your gum will undergo some trauma. That means you need to give it time to heal, including leaving time for the blood to clot.
Resting your mouth is the key to this. Give yourself 24 hours to relax and recuperate. You’ve had a tough time – you deserve a break!
Raise your head slightly when you lie down. Lying on your normal pillow will be fine.
Your dentist will have placed a gauze in your mouth to absorb the blood. Leave it where it is for a few hours. That will ensure you don’t disturb the clot as it’s forming. After that, you can change the gauze as often as is needed to stay clean and comfortable.
If you’ve been given medication, take it as directed. And if your mouth is swollen, painkillers can reduce the inflammation. An ice pack is another good way to reduce swelling.
What about that beer?
Alcohol and painkillers aren’t a good mix. Steer clear of a beer until you’ve finished taking the medication you need to manage the discomfort.
You will in any case need to stay away from any alcoholic drinks for a minimum of 48 hours after your extraction. It’s better to leave it for 72 hours to be safe. That will give time for those blood clots to form.
The clots are the first stage before new tissue can grow over the wound. This is called granulation tissue, and it’s very delicate. It’s made of leucocytes – white blood cells – small blood vessels, and cells that contain collagen. Collagen is a protein and it’s needed to grow new tissue.
It’s the granulation tissue that protects your gum from further damage. So you don’t want to do anything that gets in the way of it forming. Postponing your beer for two or three days will ensure the alcohol doesn’t irritate the area of your wound.
Other drinks to watch out for
Unfortunately, it’s not only beer that can impair the healing process.
It’s best to wait at least 48 hours after your extraction before consuming hot beverages like tea or coffee. The reason is the same as for beer – you need to leave time for the blood to clot.
If you’re desperate for your caffeine fix, you could opt for iced tea or cold brew after 24 hours.
Another thing to be wary of is any food or drink containing citric acid. If you’ve ever got lemon juice on a cut finger, you’ll know how much it stings. Now intensify that pain tenfold, and you’ll have the sensation of orange juice on your raw gum. Don’t do it!
But if you’re worried that you won’t be able to drink anything after your extraction, don’t be! There are lots of different options you can enjoy as soon as you’re ready for a drink.
For the first 24 hours, you’ll need to stick to cool or lukewarm drinks. Don’t be afraid to have them – keeping your mouth moist until the bleeding subsides will help to promote healing.
Water is a great option. But if you find that too bland, flavored waters are good too. Just keep away from any with citrus fruit. Milk, apple juice and ginger ale are good too.
Smoothies can be very soothing – but choose options that don’t have seeds, as these will irritate the wound. That doesn’t just mean avoiding anything involving chia or flax seeds! Remember that strawberries and raspberries have small seeds too.
What about food?
You need to be just as careful with food as you are with drink. Don’t eat anything with a firm or rough texture that could hurt your gum. Think soft, moist and cool, and you won’t go far wrong!
Do try to eat if you can face it. Keeping your body supplied with the nutrients it needs will help your gum heal as quickly as possible. And you’ll need a slightly higher calorie intake than usual to aid recovery.
- Vegetable soup is a good choice, but make sure it’s lukewarm rather than hot. If you’ve got a ready-made soup that has bigger chunks, put it in a blender to make it smooth.
- It’s best to steer clear of any soup with meat, as you won’t be able to make it completely smooth. But if you long for a meaty flavor, bone broths are a good alternative.
These are made by simmering meat bones, and there’s some evidence that they have anti-inflammatory properties. That makes them a great choice when you’re recovering from a tooth extraction. As with all foods and drinks, though, make sure they’re eaten cold or lukewarm.
- Eggs are another great post-extraction food. They’re high in protein, vitamins and minerals.
They’re also a good source of Omega-3, which aids healing. Some eggs are enriched with extra Omega-3, making them particularly a particularly healthy choice. Scramble them with milk and cook on a low heat to keep them smooth and creamy.
- Mashed potatoes are another good option. This is one time when you can feel guilt-free about adding plenty of milk and butter! Remember, those extra calories are necessary right now.
If you still find your mash a little dry, adding some gravy can help. Just leave it to cool before you eat it.
- And if cold mashed potatoes don’t float your boat, how about fruit purees? Applesauce is a good source of vitamin C, which can give your immune system a boost. Mashed banana is a great option too, with plenty of vitamins and minerals.
Both can be eaten with some soothing Greek yogurt. As well as proteins and vitamins, this is rich in zinc. Zinc is believed to help wounds to heal. And Greek yogurt is delicious into the bargain!
A word about ice cream
When your mouth is sore, there’s little that’s more tempting than the cool sweetness of ice cream. Some folks will tell you to keep away from it, because it’s high in sugar.
This is, of course, true. And when you’re recovering from a tooth extraction, you won’t be able to brush your teeth as thoroughly as normal. If your extraction resulted from tooth decay, you may want to avoid creating the same problem in another tooth!
But if you really want ice cream, we say, go for it. Having your tooth out is pretty much the bottom of the list when it comes to fun things to do. If ice cream will cheer you up, have some! One or two servings aren’t going to make a big difference to either your dental or overall health.
If you’re looking for a healthier alternative, though, home-made banana ice-cream might just hit the spot. Simply place three or four bananas in your freezer for around four hours. Then slice them, and stick them in a blender with a bit of cow’s or almond milk.
Blend until it’s thick and creamy, tip into a bowl and get stuck in!
To sum up …
Having a tooth extracted is a serious business, and you need to take care of your mouth to help it heal. Don’t drink beer for at least 48 hours after the procedure. Waiting for 72 hours is better still.
In the meantime, distract yourself with plenty of cool drinks and soft food. There are lots of options to choose from that will help your body heal, and make you feel happier too.
We especially love the home-made banana ice-cream recipe. It tastes especially good if you can get someone else to make it for you!
Take it easy, and before you know it, your gums will be right as rain. Get well soon!