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Can Tea Stop Bleeding After Tooth Extractions?

Can Tea Be Used to Stop Bleeding after a tooth extraction?

If you have had a tooth extraction, you probably expect some bleeding.  But, what should you do if the bleeding doesn’t stop?  This blog will review things that should be done after tooth extractions and how tea can be used to stop bleeding.

Let’s say you had a tooth extracted.  This sometimes necessary treatment can of course cause bleeding.  Teeth are held in the jaw bone with a ligament.  When a tooth is extracted, this ligament is torn and the gum tissue is also disrupted.  Some patients bleed more than others, but there is always some bleeding.  So what should you do after a tooth extraction to minimize bleeding?  Our office wants our patients to be as comfortable as possible after any surgery.  We have add a tea bag as well as gauze to our care kits for patients just in case something more is needed to stop bleeding.

Some bleeding is normal and actually part of the healing.  A blood clot will form over the extraction site.  This is similar to a scab forming over sores on other places on your body.  The following will help control bleeding:

  1. Create a small gauze ‘pillow’ by folding gauze and place this over the extraction site. Bite down firmly for about 15 minutes.  The pressure is very helpful!  Do not change the gauze too frequently as this can disrupt the blood clot and cause more bleeding.
  2. Make sure the gauze is moist before you remove it so as not to disrupt the blood clot that will form. A little blood oozing on the first day is normal.
  3. If bleeding continues or seems excessive, try placing a moist tea bag over the surgical site and bite on it for 10 – 15 minutes or until the bleeding stops.

The use of tea is a popular remedy to stop bleeding after oral surgery.  How does this work?  The tannins in black or green tea with caffeine promote blood clotting and have astringent abilities. Tannins are natural chemicals present in caffeinated tea that contribute to tea’s bitter flavor.  Tannic acid and caffeine is said to shrink open capillaries and decrease swelling.

Does it matter what kind of tea is used?  It really does!  You can’t use decaffeinated teas or herbal teas.  It has to be a tea with caffeine.  Ever had that puckered feeling in your mouth after drinking tea?  That’s the tannins!

  1. Black tea and some green teas contains tannins, which cause blood to clot or coagulate and this stops the active bleeding.
  2. Tannins are also astringent. Astringents cause blood vessels to shrink.
  3. Tannins are also somewhat antiseptic and able to kill bacteria. This may help prevent infection in the extraction site.
  4. The tea bag and the pressure you put on it when you bite down acts like a band aide and absorbs some blood and saliva and protects the affected area.

Is there a downside to using tea to help stop bleeding?  Not really unless it is very late and the caffeine keeps you awake when it would be good for you to sleep!  The same tannins that help stop bleeding can also stain your teeth. Any staining should be superficial which means you can get rid of the stains with brushing and flossing.  It is also a good idea to drink plenty of water.

So, how should you use a tea bag to stop bleeding?

  1. Soak a tea bag in hot water for a minute or so. Black tea may be the best choice because it may have more tannins than other types of teas.
  2. Allow the tea bag to cool slightly, squeeze out some of the water and place the tea bag over the extraction site.
  3. Gently bite on the tea bag for at least 5 minutes. Up to 15 if bleeding was heavy. The pressure and the tannins help to form a blood clot in the tooth socket

These techniques are also very helpful.  Eat soft and healthy foods, drink plenty of liquids, and get plenty of rest with your head slightly elevated (two pillows).  Eating cold soft foods (ice cream, pudding) is helpful as is the use of ice packs to reduce swelling.  To make an ice pack, put small cubes of ice in a plastic bag that you can seal.  Wrap the bag in a towel and put the ice pack on your cheek near the surgical site for about 10 minutes. Then remove it for 5 – 10 minutes. Repeat as needed.

Remember that it is sometimes difficult to tell just how much blood is present in your mouth as it mixes with your saliva and always looks like more blood.  Of course, if you have excessive bleeding and pressure with gauze and/or a tea bag had not worked to control the bleeding, you should call your dentist or seek medical attention.

Our office wants all of your dental experiences to be as comfortable as possible! Adding a tea bag to your take home kit is a tiny thing we can do to make it more convenient for you if you do need to use this option to help control bleeding. Here’s to speedy, comfortable healing!

Yours for better dental health,

Julie Gillis, DDS, AAACD

Restoring Teeth/Restoring Smiles