Friday morning my husband had three wisdom teeth pulled, as well as one unhealthy tooth and one perfectly healthy tooth. The perfectly healthy tooth… the dental surgeon accidentally damaged a healthy tooth when trying to remove the wisdom teeth. Actually, damaged it beyond repair with no option but removal. If it had not been for his dental surgery, I would never have learned about this very practical use for tea bags.
According to the the discharge instructions I received from the oral surgery unit, bleeding was to be expected during the first hour. To help staunch the bleeding gauze pads should be placed in the open wounds for 20 minutes at a time. If the bleeding is still heavy after one hour, moistened tea bags should be inserted into the wound and pressure applied for 20 minute intervals for another hour.
Like me, I’m sure you are wondering, why teabags? Tea contains tannins. Tannins are astringent, bitter plant polyphenols that either bind and precipitate or shrink proteins. The astringency from the tannins is what causes the dry and puckery feeling in the mouth following the consumption of red wine, strong tea, or an un-ripened fruit. My research suggests that tea from the tea plant, camellia sinensis, is what should be used – not herbal teas.
The tannins contained in tea are useful for healing burns and stopping bleeding. Additionally, tannins stop infection while continuing to heal the wound internally. In the event an infection has already begun, tannins have the ability to form a protective layer over the exposed tissue to stop the infection from spreading. What is even more exciting is that tea bags can be used for more than tooth extractions. You can also use tea bags to control bleeding that occurs as the result of injuries to the soft tissues, which include the tongue, cheeks, gums and lips.
Loose tea drinkers, do not fret nor be dismayed. You can use a dreaded coffee filter – because none of us tea drinkers drink coffee – and create a mock tea bag. Another alternative would be to purchase tea socks or tea pillowcases (disposable tea bags) to hold your loose tea for placement within the mouth.
Tea always amazes me. This drink that we love is not just delicious and soothing, but has numerous medical benefits as well. The next time you head to the dentist for oral surgery be sure to keep some loose tea or tea bags handy.