Summer vacation is a popular option for wisdom tooth extractions. Without the tight schedule of the school year and extracurriculars on their plate, kids can take as much time as they need to heal. Usually, it’s only a few days of discomfort, but the timeline can vary greatly from patient to patient. If only there were some way to make sure your kids had a quick and comfortable recovery from their extractions. According to a new viral TikTok trend, pineapple juice might be the answer you’re looking for! But does it work?
First of All, Let’s Talk Wisdom Teeth
Third molars, also known as wisdom teeth, grow all the way in the back of the jaw. They’re supposed make an appearance when you’re about eighteen years old, but for many people only part of the tooth breaks through, or they never come in at all! That’s because wisdom teeth have a tendency to grow in at odd angles, making them incompatible with the rest of your teeth.
While some people can keep their third molars without a problem, most people can’t. Wisdom teeth can put pressure on the other teeth, causing the to shift and crowd forward. They can create food traps leading to decay and infection. They can even damage the roots of your other molars. Your dental team will carefully consider your case before making any recommendations, but if they’re suggesting extraction, it’s a good idea to just get it over with!
So, if you’ve gotta do it, how can you make sure your recovery is as easy as possible?
According to Dr. TikTok…
TikTok has been popular with young users for years. If you’re not familiar, think YouTube but with shorter videos and you can lip sync to other users’ sounds. Trends sweep the app regularly and it thrives on viral videos with millions of views. Most of these trends have to do with choreographed dances, but every once in a while, a trend will go around such as a self-care regimen or physical challenge. We’ll advise you to steer well clear of most of these trends. Remember when teens started filing their own teeth at home!?
One such trend that’s been going around for a while has to do with the dreaded wisdom tooth extraction surgery most teens go through sometime in high school. Across the country, people are swearing by a simple strategy of drinking pineapple juice to prevent pain, decrease swelling, and help you heal faster. In fact, it’s supposedly so effective that many users post videos of themselves with no swelling at all following their surgery!
So what’s the catch? It’s not as simple as drinking a glass or two of pineapple juice. According to “Dr. TikTok,” you have to drink 64 oz of the stuff the day before surgery to get the full effect. That’s a half gallon! Think you could stomach that much juice in one day?
Well, Dr. Dunn’s own kids took it upon themselves to try it out! They chugged the full 64 oz each, the day before their wisdom teeth surgeries. And kept it all down!
Could It Work?
Could drinking pineapple juice really do all that? Surprisingly, maybe. Pineapple juice contains an enzyme called bromelain. It functions as an anti-inflammatory, triggering the body’s natural ability to fight pain and stave of swelling. Bromelain has been shown effective in a study, with 70% of participants showing reduced pain and swelling after wisdom tooth extractions thanks to bromelain. However, the study was small (with only 40 participants), and used bromelain as an isolated enzyme, not as a component of pineapple juice.
There isn’t a strong consensus in the medical community as to how effective drinking large amounts of pineapple juice might be. Lots of patients (and TikTok users) report great results from trying it. But it’s hard to say whether the juice has anything to do with it. Most patients don’t experience extreme pain or swelling after having their wisdom teeth out, especially if the extractions were simple. We can’t say whether these patients would have had worse swelling or pain without the juice.
There’s also the question of what else might be happening when you drink that much juice! We know that being well hydrated before any surgical procedure helps with healing, and pineapple juice also contains other vitamins and sugars that can fuel the immune system. So it might help, but you might get the same results from hydrating and taking Tylenol.
Is There a Downside to Trying?
What’s the harm in trying? Honestly, probably not much, but the experience could be unpleasant for many patients, and can cause problems for some. We don’t know about you, but it sounds a little hard to drink that much juice in one day! Many people might experience upset stomach, indigestion and heartburn, and possibly GI upset.
Pineapple juice obviously contains tons of sugar, especially if you don’t get the “real” thing. Many juices contain added sugars, corn syrup, and flavors, so might not even contain much actual pineapple juice with the bromelain that’s supposed to be doing most of the work in your post-op recovery. Regardless of what kind you get, however, drinking that much sugary juice can be a problem for patients with diabetic conditions or sensitive blood sugar.
Pineapple juice isn’t just sweet. It’s also acidic. Between those two factors, spending all day sipping juice is not great for your teeth! The good news is that just one day of extra sugar and acid probably won’t do much damage. But definitely don’t make a habit of it.
At the end of the day, your best bet is to talk to your oral surgeon before your surgery. They have the experience and training to properly prepare you for the big day and help you recover as smoothly as possible. Following their recommendations before and after surgery will go a long way to prevent excess issues during healing.
So what about Dr. Dunn’s kiddos? Did it work for them? We’re not sure whether it was the juice or their great surgeon (or maybe both?), but both recovered just fine without severe pain. The jury’s still out, but this rumor is surprisingly plausible. Keep smiling and enjoy that pineapple juice, Orlando!