Blood Thinners and Oral Health: Expert Advice for Dental Cleanings

Blood Thinners and Oral Health: Expert Advice for Dental Cleanings
February 29, 2024

Blood thinners, also known as anticoagulants, are medications prescribed to prevent blood clots and reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular events. While they are crucial for managing various medical conditions, individuals on blood thinners often have concerns about undergoing dental procedures, particularly routine teeth cleanings.

In this blogpost, we’ll explore the relationship between blood thinners and dental care, addressing common questions and providing essential information for patients.

Understanding Blood Thinners:

Before delving into the specifics of dental care, it’s essential to understand the purpose and function of blood thinners. These medications work by interfering with the body’s blood clotting process, thereby reducing the risk of excessive clot formation within blood vessels.

Blood thinners are commonly prescribed for individuals with atrial fibrillation, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and those who have undergone certain types of surgeries such as joint replacement procedures.

Why Are Blood Thinners a Concern for Dental Procedures?

Dental procedures, including routine cleanings, fillings, extractions, and gum surgeries, often involve manipulation of the gums and tissues within the oral cavity. While these procedures are typically safe for most individuals, they can pose a challenge for those taking blood thinners.

The primary concern is the potential for prolonged bleeding during or after the dental procedure. Since blood thinners inhibit the blood’s ability to clot, even minor injuries or incisions within the mouth can result in excessive bleeding.

Can You Still Get Your Teeth Cleaned While on Blood Thinners?

The short answer is yes, but it requires careful coordination between your dentist and healthcare provider. Routine teeth cleanings, also known as dental prophylaxis, are an essential aspect of maintaining oral health and preventing dental problems such as cavities and gum disease. For individuals on blood thinners, the key is to minimize the risk of bleeding complications while ensuring effective plaque and tartar removal.

Precautions and Considerations

If you are taking blood thinners and require a teeth cleaning or other dental procedure, here are some important precautions and considerations:

  • Communication is Key: Inform your dentist about your use of blood thinners during your initial consultation. This allows the dental team to tailor their approach and make necessary accommodations to ensure your safety.
  • Medical History Review: Your dentist may need to review your medical history and consult with your healthcare provider to assess your bleeding risk and determine the most appropriate course of action.
  • Bleeding Time Assessment: In some cases, your dentist may recommend a blood test to evaluate your bleeding time. This test measures how long it takes for your blood to clot and provides valuable information for determining the safety of dental procedures.
  • Timing of Medication: Depending on the type of blood thinner you’re taking and the complexity of the dental procedure, your healthcare provider may recommend adjusting the timing or dosage of your medication to minimize bleeding risk.
  • Specialised Techniques: During the teeth cleaning procedure, your dentist may employ specialized techniques and instruments to minimize trauma to the gums and tissues, thereby reducing the likelihood of bleeding.
  • Post-Procedure Monitoring: Following the dental procedure, your dentist will closely monitor you for any signs of bleeding or other complications. They may provide specific instructions for managing any minor bleeding that occurs at home.

FAQs Related To Dental Cleaning & Blood Thinners:

Q1: Can I still get my teeth cleaned if I’m on blood thinners?

Yes, routine teeth cleanings are generally safe for individuals on blood thinners. However, it’s important to inform your dentist about your medication so they can take appropriate precautions to minimize bleeding risk.

Q2: Will being on blood thinners make me bleed more during a dental procedure?

Blood thinners can increase the risk of bleeding during dental procedures, but your dentist will take steps to minimize this risk. They may adjust your medication schedule, use specialised techniques, and monitor you closely during and after the procedure.

Q3: What should I do if I experience bleeding after a dental procedure while on blood thinners?

If you experience prolonged or excessive bleeding after a dental procedure, contact your dentist immediately. They can provide guidance on how to manage the bleeding and may recommend seeking further medical attention if necessary.

Q4: Should I stop taking my blood thinners before a dental procedure?

It’s important to follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations regarding your medication regimen. Stopping blood thinners abruptly can increase the risk of blood clots and other complications. Your dentist will work with you and your healthcare provider to determine the best course of action.

Q5: Are there any specific dental procedures I should avoid while on blood thinners?

In general, most dental procedures can be performed safely with proper precautions. However, certain invasive procedures may carry a higher risk of bleeding complications. Your dentist will assess your individual situation and recommend the most appropriate treatment plan.


In conclusion, being on blood thinners doesn’t necessarily preclude you from receiving routine dental care such as teeth cleanings. However, it’s essential to communicate openly with your dentist, follow their recommendations, and take necessary precautions to minimize the risk of bleeding complications.

By working together with our healthcare team, you can maintain good oral health while managing your medical condition effectively. Remember, prioritising your overall health and well-being is always the top priority.

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