The Real Reason You Shouldn't Use A Straw After Wisdom Teeth Surgery

You've likely heard that you should avoid using a straw after getting your wisdom teeth are removed — and this advice is given for good reason. When you use a straw after having wisdom teeth surgery, you risk developing what's known as a "dry socket," according to Foothill Center for Dental Implants & Oral Surgery. The term may not sound intimidating at first, but those who develop a dry socket will wind up in some serious pain.

After your wisdom teeth are removed, your body will create a blood clot over the removal site. This blood clot is essential in your recovery as it's made to protect the tooth socket and what's inside, like your nerves. "The clot also provides the foundation for the growth of new bone and for the development of soft tissue over the clot," the Mayo Clinic explained. However, drinking from a straw, which requires a socking motion, after having your wisdom teeth removed can dislodge that vital blood clot, thus leading to a hole, or dry socket. 

You'll experience intense pain

If you have ever talked to someone who has experienced a dry socket, they will likely tell you that they never want to go through that ordeal again. According to Healthline, a dry socket will leave you with intense pain and a trip to the dentist's office. Pain may be localized or spread across your face. You may also notice bone in the tooth socket and experience bad breath (via Healthline).

Thankfully, a dry socket is treatable. A dentist will clean the socket of any food or debris, place a medicated dressing over the open area, and prescribe medicated paste or recommend over-the-counter pain relief, like ibuprofen, reports Medical News Today.

While a milkshake or smoothie might be a soothing treat to indulge in while recovering from wisdom teeth surgery, be sure to skip the straw! Use a spoon and avoid a dreaded dry socket.