Allergic To Salt? Don't Use Oil-Pulling As A Substitute To Heal Your Extraction Site

Posted on: 13 January 2015

After a dentist, such as William J Guthrie DDS PC, extracts your tooth, he or she may recommend that you rinse the extraction site with warm, salty water to help it heal faster. If you're allergic to the iodine in salt, you may be tempted to use other methods, such as oil-pulling, to heal your extraction site. But that might be a bad idea. A small blood clot covers the empty tooth socket of your extraction site. Using the wrong type of mouth rinse can remove the clot, which leaves the empty socket vulnerable to dry socket syndrome. Here's why you don't want to use oil-pulling as a replacement for salt water.

Why Is Oil-Pulling Bad for Your Extraction Site?

You probably already know about oil pulling and how it may or may not benefit your mouth. Most people use oil-pulling to cleanse the mouth of impurities, such as bacteria and plaque, that can cause tooth decay and gum disease. However, the thick textures of coconut oil, olive oil and other types of oils may cause more harm to your extraction site than good.

A blood clot forms over your extraction site to help it heal. The clot also prevents oral microorganisms like bacteria from getting inside the empty tooth socket. Your dentist doesn't want you to aggravate the clot in any way, shape or form. If you do inadvertently remove the clot, you may end up with a painful dental condition known as dry socket syndrome.

Dry socket syndrome brings about a number of symptoms, including:

  • Pus — Pus describes dead, white blood cells and bacteria that mix together to form a thick, yellowish-white substance that leaks or oozes out into your mouth.
  • Inflammation — Inflammation describes the symptoms your extraction site experiences when it develops redness, swelling and pain. Additionally, the blood supporting the empty tooth socket "dries out" until it exposes the jawbone and nerves inside it to air.
  • Head and facial pain — These symptoms may occur if bacteria from the dry socket spread to the nerves and blood vessels in your sinus cavity, forehead and jawbones.

Your dentist may treat dry socket by cleaning it out with warm water and by scraping away the dead, infected tissue with his or her dental tools. It's in your best interest to avoid oil-pulling and try another alternative instead.

What Can You Use Instead of Oil-Pulling?

The most effective way to help your extraction site heal if you can't use salty water is to simply rinse your mouth in clean, warm water. Water hydrates the gums surrounding the empty tooth socket, which cuts down in bacteria growth and infection. Additionally, the warmth of the water may soothe any pain and inflammation you feel in the site. 

If you need other helpful methods for healing your extraction site, contact your dentist immediately.