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How should I brush my teeth after a tooth extraction?

After a tooth extraction, do not clean the teeth next to the healing tooth socket for the rest of the day. You should, however, brush and floss your other teeth thoroughly, and begin cleaning the teeth next to the healing tooth socket the next day. The tongue should also be brushed. This will help eliminate the bad breath and unpleasant taste that are common after an extraction.

The day after the extraction, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water (half a teaspoon salt in an 8 oz. glass of warm water) after meals to keep food particles out of the extraction site. But remember not to rinse your mouth vigorously, as this may dislodge the blood clot. If you have hypertension, discuss with your dentist whether you should rinse with salt water. Avoid using a mouthrinse or mouthwash during this early healing period unless your dentist advises you to do so.

When choosing oral hygiene products, look for those that carry the American Dental Association's Seal of Acceptance -- a sign that a product has met ADA criteria for safety and effectiveness.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.