Pineapple Juice Before Wisdom Teeth Surgery: How Helpful Is It?

It has the potential to be beneficial, but there are other, better options.

Wisdom teeth removal surgery is a procedure that plenty of people go through. The American Dental Association (ADA) lists off a slew of reasons why you may need to have your wisdom teeth removed, including struggling with pain, an infection, damage to your neighboring teeth, cysts, and more. Basically, the odds are high that your dentist is going to recommend that you have them taken out at some point.

Does Pineapple Juice Soothe the Pain From Wisdom Teeth Surgery? Here's What Experts Say , Shot of a young woman suffering from toothache while sitting in the dentist’s chair

Keeping in mind that the surgery requires anesthesia and recovery can take a few days, it's more than understandable to want to do what you can to set yourself up for a quick and easy recovery.

One of the most interesting methods of prepping for recovery involves a hack that has been making rounds on TikTok. People are drinking a bunch of pineapple juice in advance of surgery in hopes that it will reduce pain and inflammation post-op.

But can this hack really work for providing relief after getting your wisdom teeth removed? Here's what you need to know.

Where Did the Idea of Drinking Pineapple Juice for Swelling Come From?

It's unclear exactly where this started, but there are a few TikToks featuring the stories of people who have tried doing this. One is from @valeriagreenz, who wrote that she drank 64 ounces of pineapple juice before her wisdom tooth removal surgery. Video shows her with gauze in her mouth afterward and then, on the next day, driving her car, hanging out in a park, smiling, and posing for pictures, all while her face looks unswollen.

The poster has done several follow-ups, including one that showed her looking fine under the words, "Didn't you just get your wisdom teeth removed and [you're] not swollen at all because you drank a…ton of pineapple juice." She also added this in the caption, "Me 🤝 pineapple juice."

TikTokker Mackenzie Fuhrman posted about her own experience drinking pineapple juice before she had her wisdom teeth removed. "Clearly I don't have anything to compare it to, but if I'm not in a lot of pain or I don't have a lot of swelling then I'm going to consider it a success," she said, noting that she "researched" this and found that "pineapple juice can work because it has anti-inflammatory properties…but, we'll see tomorrow."

The video later shows Fuhrman looking groggy post-op but, she noted, right after surgery, she had "zero pain" and "minimal swelling." On the second day, Fuhrman rated her pain "one out of 10" and, by day three, Fuhrman wrote that she felt "great," adding, "definitely a success!"

However, though pineapple juice seems to have worked for some people in terms of swelling, it may not work for everyone—and it shouldn't be the go-to treatment.

What Does Wisdom Tooth Surgery Involve?

Wisdom tooth surgery, or wisdom tooth extraction, is when your dentist or oral surgeon removes your wisdom teeth, which are called third molars, per Johns Hopkins Medicine. The goal of the surgery is to help prevent complications that can happen from leaving those teeth in, like infection, tooth decay, and pain.

You'll be put under sedation for the procedure. Your doctor will then make an incision in your gums to expose the tooth and bone, remove the tooth and bone's connective tissue, remove the tooth, and stitch the wound closed, Johns Hopkins Medicine explains.

"Dentists frequently have to remove bone and even cut the tooth," Mark Wolff, DDS, dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, told Health. "That's traumatic to say the least."

Afterward, you may have some swelling, bleeding, discomfort, and bruising for a few days, Dr. Wolff said, but everyone reacts differently to the surgery.

How Does Pineapple Juice Factor in Here?

The claim from TikTokkers is that pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain that is an anti-inflammatory. Based on that, people say, drinking a lot of the stuff should help reduce swelling and pain after your surgery.

The researchers of a study published in December 2016 in the Journal of the International Society of Preventive and Community Dentistry gave people bromelain and amoxicillin (an antibiotic) after their surgery and assessed their pain on days one, three, and seven afterward. Of the 40 people who took bromelain, the researchers said it was "effective" in 28 of them, meaning it helped reduce swelling and pain.

An Advances in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery study published in July 2021 also compared the use of 500 mg of bromelain (twice per day) to 50 mg of diclofenac sodium (three times per day) in treating swelling and pain for the five days after the participants' wisdom tooth surgeries. The researchers found that those who use brolemain initially had higher pain scores, swelling, and trismus (also known as lockjaw), but there was no statistically signficant difference between both remedies for the effects of the surgeries.

There is a caveat to consider: "Studies looking at bromelain for reduction of pain and swelling after wisdom tooth extraction [showed bromelain has] been in supplement form and not from food sources," Jessica Cording, RD, author of The Little Book of Game-Changers: 50 Healthy Habits For Managing Stress & Anxiety, told Health.

In other words, these people didn't actually have pineapple juice: They had bromelain extract. Additionally, an October 2021 study in the Journal of Craniomaxillofacial Research did find that fresh pineapple juice before and after facial surgery procedures "significantly reduced post-surgical pain, swelling, and ecchymosis [skin discoloration caused by bleeding below the skin]"—but wisdom tooth extraction was not noted as one of the surgeries.

Still, it is difficult to compare things like pain and swelling after a person has wisdom tooth surgery, given how differently everyone reacts to it, Dr. Wolff said.

"There is some data that bromelain can act as a weak anti-inflammatory agent," Jamie Alan, PharmD, associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Michigan State University, told Health. "However, take this in context. Pineapple juice is really acidic. This is going to actually set off an inflammatory cascade in your mouth." This means the juice is not going to make your mouth feel great before you go into surgery; instead, it may likely cause your mouth to hurt more.

And, if you happen to try this hack after your surgery, you could be in a world of pain, with the acid in the pineapple reacting to the wounds in your mouth, Alan pointed out.

Are There Any Risks With Trying This?

While drinking pineapple juice is largely harmless, there are a few things that can go south here. One is that TikTokkers are recommending you drink 64 ounces of pineapple juice—that's a lot. "I'd be more concerned about the glycemic impact of drinking large amounts of fruit juice being detrimental to the healing process," Cording said. Your body needs to quickly process a lot of sugar in the juice, and you could face some serious energy spikes and crashes afterward, making you feel terrible in the process.

"There's also the possibility of digestive discomfort," Cording added. Stomach aches, heartburn, diarrhea are all possibilities.

What Else Can You Do To Set Yourself Up for a Successful Recovery?

Dr. Wolff said one of the best things you can do is to take an NSAID like Motrin or Aleve to help reduce swelling after your surgery. "That does fairly well for pain, too," Dr. Wolff said. "If you can reduce the swelling, you will likely reduce the pain."

Putting ice on the side of your face can also help with the swelling and pain, Dr. Wolff said. Salt water or hydrogen peroxide gargles can also help with swelling, Alan added, noting that you shouldn't swallow these.

If you want to try the pineapple juice hack and you feel like your stomach—and your mouth—can handle it, go for it. Just know that there's no concrete data that confirms the hack will be helpful for anyone and everyone.

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