Congratulations! You’ve successfully made it through the most difficult part of the wisdom tooth extraction which was the surgical phase of the treatment. With that being over, you now have to deal with the recovery aspect of the dental procedure.
Before you were allowed to go home, your dentist went over with you a long list of dos and don’ts. You clearly remember that you were supposed to take pain medication and antibiotics if you were given any.
However your memory is a little fuzzy in regards to some of the other things that they said. You vaguely remember them saying something about not having coffee… Was that true and if it was, why can’t you have it?
Well, in case you missed it or forgot what they said, we’re here to help you out.
Adverse Effects of coffee after wisdom teeth removal
Coffee seems harmless enough because millions of Americans drink it on a daily basis. In fact, some even have several cups of this hot beverage everyday.
However did you know that coffee can negatively affect your recovery and healing after having your wisdom teeth removed? It’s not as innocent as you may have expected.
Drinking coffee after the wisdom tooth extraction can impair the blood clotting process due to the acidity of the beverage.
- Black coffee has an acidic pH of around 5.
- 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 deleterious effects on staunching the bleeding after the surgical extraction. 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 wisdom teeth. That means the rate at which the wisdom tooth hole closes will be slower.
Studies have shown that coffee can lead to a 40% decrease in bone formation while caffeine had a 60% decrease. The decrease in bone formation were due to these effects:
- 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 the third molars, you want the gums and bone to close up as soon as possible so that you can return to normal.
Increases bone loss
Caffeine intake can increase bone loss after wisdom teeth 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. You may end up losing more bone after having the teeth taken out if you drink coffee afterwards!
This is significant because coffee is typically full of caffeine unless you opt for the decaffeinated version. We have to say that decaf certainly doesn’t taste as good though.
When can I drink coffee after wisdom teeth removal?
Based on the research above, the best thing to do is to avoid drinking coffee for at least a few days after wisdom teeth removal. If you’re able to do that, you can maximize your healing and reduce the chances of complications such as persistent bleeding.
However, we understand that most Americans run on coffee and caffeine. Asking someone to abstain from drinking coffee for a few days is difficult to adhere to and also not the most practical. Therefore, our recommendation is to at least wait until the next morning after having your wisdom teeth removed before drinking coffee.
The most crucial recovery time is the first 24 hours on the day of the surgery. As long as you move past that hump, nothing too serious should happen to you. Our main concern is the potential for bleeding from having coffee since it interferes with the clotting. The blood clot should be stabilized by the day after the procedure so it’ll be safe by then.
Sure you may heal a little slower if you drink coffee when compared to someone who doesn’t but it’s not the end of the world. At least the bleeding risk is now over. After all, we do want you to return back to your regular routine as soon as possible. Getting back to your morning groove will help expedite that.
Besides, based on our clinical observations on what we see on a daily basis in our practice, everyone healed up just fine if they waited until the next day to drink coffee. There were no complications from coffee drinking. 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
From a more holistic point of view, coffee is not the best beverage to be drinking while you’re recovering from wisdom tooth surgery. Coffee is a stimulant because it has a lot of caffeine in it and it’ll keep you alert and wide awake.
Do you really want to be awake and alert while you’re trying to recover from the procedure? In our opinion if you want to recover faster you should actually get some sleep which is the opposite of what caffeine will do.
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 and that is a good thing. Coffee on the other hand will negate those effects and make it more difficult for you to get any rest at all.
The Verdict – Can I have coffee after wisdom teeth extraction?
The smart decision is to avoid coffee for a few days after your wisdom tooth extraction. It comes with a lot of side effects which are detrimental to your recovery.
- Impairs clotting
- Delays bone healing
- Potentially increases bone loss
All of those adverse effects slow down your 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 and being able to sleep is ideal.
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, the bleeding risk should’ve passed. You may heal slower if you drink it but at least your life isn’t in danger!
Please just don’t drink coffee on the same day as the wisdom tooth removal! Aside from that, you should really review all of the dos and don’ts of wisdom teeth removal aftercare.