A common side effect following the removal of wisdom teeth is local swelling. It’s an unpleasant experience and one that most of us would prefer to pass quickly. Fortunately, swelling is temporary, it resolves on its own, and there are many natural home remedies to help diminish this symptom. Here are a few simple and natural suggestions on how to reduce swelling after wisdom teeth removal.

This is a list of natural treatment suggestions, not an exhaustive list of what’s available. Contact your dentist if you have any suspicious symptoms or feel your condition is worsening.

Man with swollen cheek

1. Ice

Fill a plastic bag with ice, wrap with a thin cloth and apply to the swollen cheek or jaw area. Keep the ice in contact with your face for 10 minutes, shifting it as needed every few minutes in order to address the entire swollen area. Reapply every hour.

Swelling is caused by your body’s immune system working to heal a wound. Ice helps diminish the swelling while the healing continues. Decreasing the swelling in the first 24-48 hours after surgery helps expedite the recovery period and reduces pain.

2. Salt Water Rinse

Blend a teaspoon of salt in a glass of water. Swish the mixture around in your mouth for at least 30 seconds, up to 2-3 minutes, before spitting out. Repeat this process several times throughout the day.

Rinsing the mouth often, even with plain water, helps to keep the wounds clean. Salt offers the added benefits of both cleaning your mouth and naturally promoting healing. Salt also helps to prevent potential infections. As long as you don’t swallow the salt water rinse, this is a safe option for how to reduce swelling after wisdom teeth removal.

3. Baking Soda

Combine a ¼ teaspoon of baking soda with a glass of water and stir thoroughly. Swish this rinse in your mouth for at least 30 seconds, up to a couple minutes, before spitting out. Repeat several times a day. Alternately, you can add a bit of baking soda to your toothpaste or add to the salt water rinse recipe.

Baking soda is effective as both an antibacterial and for reducing swelling. It is a fast-acting pain reliever. It is safe to rinse often with baking soda often.

4. Clove Oil

Put a few drops of clove oil on a cotton ball and place on the affected area of the gums, away from the open wound. If you experience any sensitivity, mix with a few drops of olive oil to dilute.

Clove oil has been used for centuries to treat tooth pain and other dental issues. As both a painkiller and a natural antiseptic, it is a great option for how to reduce swelling after wisdom teeth removal. Clove oil helps diminish any discomfort following surgery and helps prevent infection.

5. Peppermint

Apply a generous pinch of (very clean) peppermint leaves or a soaked peppermint tea bag to the swollen region of the gums. Alternately, apply a few drops of peppermint oil to a cotton ball and place on the gums for about 5 minutes.

Peppermint is not only a refreshing ingredient in your toothpaste, it is a natural option for how to reduce swelling after wisdom teeth removal. It is useful for soothing inflammation, reducing pain, and leaves the mouth feeling fresh.

6. Tea

Steep a tea bag in a small cup of hot water. Place the cup in the fridge with the tea bag still in it and allow it to cool completely. Periodically remove the tea bag from the cup, squeezing off excess liquid, and place the satchel on the swollen gums (away from the open wound) for about 5 minutes. This can be repeated several times a day, but practice caution or avoid if you have a sensitivity to caffeine.

The tannins naturally found in tea are anti-inflammatory, helping to minimize swelling. Drinking tea does not have the same effect as applying the tea bag directly to the affected area of the gums. This remedy can be easily combined with other treatments applied directly to the gums, such as the peppermint and clove oil.

7. Turmeric

Turmeric capsules can be purchased at most health food and supplement stores. Follow the dosage suggested on the bottle, usually a couple capsules every 4-6 hours. Always take with plenty of water. Another option is to apply turmeric powder onto the swollen gums and leave on for 5 minutes before rinsing.

Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory. It helps reduce swelling and pain. As a natural antibacterial, it also helps fend off infection. Turmeric is found in many foods, including curries, but consuming turmeric as food will not offer the potency and direct action of the medicinal form.

8. Drink Water

Be sure to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. Keep a water glass or bottle nearby as a reminder to drink fluids whenever you get the chance. It helps to swish the water occasionally to keep the mouth clean. This is one of your simplest options for how to reduce swelling after wisdom teeth removal.

Drinking plenty of water will help cleanse the mouth and keep the tissues hydrated and more capable of healing quickly. It also stimulates the production of saliva, your body’s natural defense for keeping the mouth clean. If you are taking pain medications, increased water consumption is of particular importance as prescription medications are often drying.

As with any wound, basic cleanliness and self-care are essential. Brush your teeth (gently) and rinse regularly. Get plenty of rest, allowing your body the chance to heal. Eat soft foods and avoid extreme temperatures, hot or cold.

There’s no reason to suffer from a puffy, achy chipmunk face for days after getting your wisdom teeth out. Reducing swelling as soon as possible after your surgery actually helps expedite healing. Apply these tips on how to reduce swelling after wisdom teeth removal in order to heal optimally and get back to your normal self promptly. Share your experiences and any additional tips on natural remedies for wisdom tooth care.

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