If you’re here, it means that you’ve successfully made it through the most difficult part of the tooth extraction which was the surgical removal of the tooth. With that behind you, the only thing left to do is to focus on the recovery and healing.
Before you were dismissed, your dentist went over with you a long list of dos and don’ts. Taking pain medication and antibiotics were a given. However, you also recall them mentioning something about not having coffee…
Coffee? What’s wrong with having your cup of joe? It never harmed anyone except help them stay focused while working. Why can’t you have coffee after having your tooth taken out?
Well, in case you missed it or forgot what your dentist said, we’re here to remind you.
Adverse Effects of coffee after a tooth extraction
As harmless as coffee may seem seem, it can negatively affect your recovery and healing after removing a tooth. It does so by impairing the blood clot, delay bone healing, and potentially increase the chances of bone loss.
Impairs blood clotting
Drinking coffee after a tooth extraction can impair the blood clot formation process due to the acidity of the beverage.
- Black coffee has a fairly acidic pH of around 5.
- Typical coffee with milk has an acidic pH of around 6.
Studies have shown that even a slight increase in acidity from a pH of 7.4 to 7.0 can increase the clotting time and decrease the clot firmness. That 0.4 decrease in pH had these effects:
- 25% increase in time required to form a blood clot.
- 25% reduction in the firmness of the blood clot.
Both of these are detrimental effects on stopping the bleeding after the surgical procedure. The worse part is, black coffee has a pH that is significantly lower than both of the pH levels that were tested in the studies. Based on the implications of the study, we can assume that the clotting time and firmness of the clot should be significantly worse than the 25%.
Delays bone healing
Having coffee and caffeine can delay the bone healing process after extracting your tooth. That means the rate at which the tooth extraction hole closes will be slower than usual if you drank it.
Studies have shown that coffee can lead to a 40% decrease in bone formation while caffeine had a 60% decrease. Here are the reason for the decrease in bone formation:
- Increase calcium excretion. To repair the socket you want to take in calcium and not excrete it. Calcium is one of the minerals that are used to build strong bones and teeth.
- Inhibition of osteoblast proliferation. The cells that are responsible for building and repairing bone are called osteoblasts. Decreasing their numbers is detrimental to bone healing.
- Delay in tissue repair. After taking out teeth, you want the gums and bone to close up as soon as possible so that you can return to normal.
Increases bone loss
Caffeine ingestion can potentially increase bone loss after tooth removal if the teeth are ligated. That means if you’re undergoing some type of orthodontic treatment such as braces, you should definitely avoid coffee.
This situation is very common for those who have overcrowded teeth but need braces. The treatment plan usually requires the removal of four premolars to create more space for the teeth to properly align. If this situation sounds like you, you may want to abstain from drinking any coffee for awhile.
When can I drink coffee after taking out a tooth?
The best thing to do is to avoid having any coffee for at least a few days after a tooth extraction. If you’re able to do that, you can maximize your healing and reduce the chances of complications such as persistent bleeding. The continued bleeding is our main concern because it can be life threatening if it doesn’t stop.
However, we understand that most Americans run on coffee and some even have multiple cups a day. Asking someone to abstain for a few days is a lot to ask for and also not the most practical. Therefore, our recommendation is to at least wait until the next morning after having your teeth removed before drinking coffee.
Our main concern is the potential for bleeding from having coffee since it interferes with the clotting. The most vulnerable period is the first 24 hours after the extraction. That means it is of utmost importance to abstain from driving coffee during that time period. However, the blood clot should be stabilized by the day after the procedure so it’ll be safe by then.
Nevertheless, based on what we see on a daily basis in our practice, everyone heals with no problem as long as they wait until the next day to drink coffee. We haven’t had any complications from that. In fact, all of the bleeding complications were usually as a result of rinsing, spitting, and drinking through a straw!
Other reasons to avoid coffee while recovering
Putting aside everything, coffee isn’t the best drink of choice while you’re recovering from an extraction. It is a stimulant because it has a lot of caffeine in it. What it’ll do is keep you alert and wide awake for hours after drinking it.
Our question for you is, do you really want to be awake and alert while you’re trying to recover from the procedure? Doesn’t it make more sense to actually get some sleep which will help you recover faster?
Besides, if you were prescribed with stronger pain medication such as tylenol with codeine, vicodin, or percocet, all of those will make you drowsy. Their purpose is to make you want to rest. Coffee on the other hand will negate those effects and make it more difficult for you to get any rest at all.
What about iced coffee?
You should also wait a few days before drinking iced coffee after a tooth extraction. There is no difference whether it comes hot or with ice. Coffee is coffee and it’ll always be an acidic drink. In other words, iced coffee will have the same exact effects as its hot counterpart.
The Verdict – Can I have coffee after wisdom teeth extraction?
The best decision would be to avoid coffee for a few days after your tooth extraction. It comes with a lot of side effects that aren’t the best for your healing.
- Impairs the blood clotting process.
- Delays bone healing so you heal slower.
- Potentially increases bone loss if you’re undergoing any type of orthodontic treatment.
All of these adverse effects will slow down the tooth socket healing. We also shouldn’t forget that coffee is a stimulant and it’ll keep you awake which is not what we want. We want you to get adequate rest after the procedure so that you can heal as quickly as possible.
However if you really can’t live without coffee, the very least you could do is wait until the day after the surgery to drink it. By that point, you should no longer be at risk for bleeding. You may heal slower if you drink it but at least your life isn’t in danger!
Last but not least, there are other dos and don’ts after removing your tooth. Don’t forget to review all of the instructions for a tooth extraction aftercare.