How Helpful Is Drinking Pineapple Juice For Wisdom Tooth Surgery Pain?

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 a slew of reasons you may need to remove your wisdom teeth, including tooth pain, an infection, damage to your neighboring teeth, cysts, and more. One of the most interesting methods of prepping for recovery from wisdom tooth surgery involves a 2021 TikTok hack that had people drinking pineapple juice before surgery—in hopes that it will reduce pain and inflammation post-op.

Keeping in mind that the surgery requires anesthesia and that 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.

Dentist examining patient teeth, elevated view

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Wisdom Tooth Surgery

Wisdom tooth surgery—or wisdom tooth extraction—is when your dentist or oral surgeon removes your wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth are also known as your third molars. They are the final tooth on both the upper and lower jaws, Your wisdom tooth may break through your gums between ages 17 and 25. However, some people do not have these teeth break all the way through their gumline.

The goal of the surgery is to help prevent complications—tooth pain or infections—that can happen from leaving those teeth in your mouth.

You'll be put under sedation for the procedure. An oral surgeon 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.

"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.

Pineapple Juice and Reducing Swelling

Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which is an anti-inflammatory. Based on that, people claim that drinking a lot of the stuff should help reduce swelling and pain after surgery.

An Advances in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery study published in July 2021 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 of the July 2021 study found that those who used bromelain initially had higher pain scores, swelling, and trismus—also known as lockjaw. Still, there was no statistically significant 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, most research has focused on the effects of bromelain after wisdom tooth surgery, not before it.

An October 2021 study 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 will not 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.

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While drinking pineapple juice is mainly harmless, a few things can go south here. One is that TikTokkers had recommended you drink 64 ounces of pineapple juice before your wisdom tooth surgery—that's a lot.

"I'd be more concerned about the glycemic impact—blood glucose impact—of drinking large amounts of fruit juice being detrimental to the healing process," Cording said. Your body needs to process a lot of sugar in the juice quickly, and you could face serious energy spikes and crashes afterward, making you feel terrible.

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

Finally, if you decide to drink pineapple juice, you could be putting your oral health at risk too. Both sugar and acid can do damage to your teeth, causing cavities and weakened enamel (the hard part of your teeth). That's why it would be important to brush your teeth or rinse your mouth with water after drinking pineapple juice or similar drinks—no matter how much.

Set Yourself Up for a Successful Recovery

Dr. Wolff said one of the best things you can do is take an NSAID like Motrin or Aleve to help reduce swelling after 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. You'd want to use ice for the first day or so then start using a warm compress later.

Saltwater or hydrogen peroxide gargles can also help with swelling, Alan added, noting that you shouldn't swallow these. You might consider rinsing your mouth a few days after the surgery or as directed by the provider who completed the surgery.

A Quick Review

Getting your wisdom teeth removed is a common procedure that can leave you with pain, discomfort, or swelling. Some individuals have suggested that drinking pineapple juice before wisdom tooth surgery can reduce swelling.

However, there's no concrete data that confirms this remedy will be helpful for anyone and everyone. So, those who desire to try it should know that it comes with risks—and that there are other better ways to recover from a wisdom tooth procedure.

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  2. Zimmerman B, Shumway KR, Jenzer AC. Physiology, tooth. In: StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing; 2022.

  3. Bhoobalakrishnan MS, Rattan V, Rai S, Jolly SS, Malhotra S. Comparison of efficacy and safety of bromelain with diclofenac sodium in the management of postoperative pain and swelling following mandibular third molar surgery. Advances in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. 2021;3:100112. doi:10.1016/j.adoms.2021.100112

  4. Mahmood BJ. The effect of using pineapple fresh juice to improve post-surgical pain, ecchymosis and swelling in maxillofacial region. JCR, 2021. doi:10.18502/jcr.v8i2.7644

  5. American Dental Association. Erosion: what you eat and drink can impact teeth.

  6. American Dental Association. Nutrition: what you eat affects your teeth.

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