I’ve been told throughout my life that my wisdom teeth would inevitably become a problem. Each time, I (politely) implored these dental doomsdayers to fuck off. Until I was 21, I didn’t even think I had wisdom teeth at all, at least not ones that would ever try to poke their way through the surface of my gums. Obviously, anyone that wanted to go into my mouth and extract my dormant teeth was a con artist looking to bill me and my dental insurance, a cog of a medical industry that invents problems that don’t require solving.
Now, 25 — and wisdom tooth sockets still clotted with fresh blood from my removal surgery — I’ve absolutely changed my mind. Over the last four years, my wisdom teeth did emerge, aggressively, sideways and bringing a handful of infections with them. Luckily, I waited to get them out until just after a bizarre, DIY anti-inflammatory remedy for wisdom tooth removal recovery went viral on TikTok.
Over the summer, multiple TikTokers documented themselves drinking massive amounts of pineapple juice — around 64 ounces or more — in the day prior to their wisdom tooth removal surgery. According to their before and after photos, the pineapple juice helped prevent pain and swelling in the days following the procedure. “Clearly I don’t have anything to compare it to, but if I’m not in a lot of pain and I don’t have a lot of swelling, I’m going to consider it a success,” said TikToker @mack_attack323 in a video that’s been viewed 26 million times.
Since these videos started surfacing, countless other media outlets have reported on the trend, explaining that it might work because pineapples contain bromelain, an enzyme with purported anti-inflammatory properties. Bromelain is typically sold in supplement form, and a few studies have examined its effectiveness as a treatment for sinusitis and for removing dead skin following a burn. But, as for its impacts on wisdom tooth extraction recovery, there isn’t a ton of research to back up TikTok’s claims. All that acid and sugar probably isn’t great for you, either — a 64-ounce can has 240 grams of sugar, more than a week’s worth, per the American Heart Association. As one pharmacology professor told Health, the whole trend is “kind of ridiculous.”
Ever willing to make content out of all aspects of my life, I obviously needed to try it for myself. A few days before my surgery, I popped over to the corner grocer and grabbed one of those big-ass 46-ounce cans that requires one of those triangle-puncher thingies to open. Here’s the issue with pineapple juice, though: It’s not that great. I’m not a juice drinker, period, so I wasn’t thrilled to gulp a ton of it. I don’t care about those myths that pineapple juice makes your sexual fluids taste good, either — just drink water, you freaks! Pineapples also tend to sting my mouth. On top of all that, my mouth was already in bad shape prior to the surgery, with one tooth mildly infected and another deciding to grow just enough to scrape my gums. So, drinking the pineapple juice stung and was generally unpleasant.
I only made it through about three-fourths of the can before the surgery, or around 32 ounces — significantly less than the 64 ounces recommended by TikTokers. On the Friday morning of the procedure, I received localized anaesthesia in my mouth and was strapped up to the laughing gas. As I waited in the oral surgeon’s chair for the numbing to kick in, I told the nurse I was scared of the gas. “Well, it’s already on,” she said.
My upper two teeth came out flawlessly — I didn’t feel a thing. My lower two, both of which were impacted, required more work. The doctor cut into my gums, cracked my teeth like walnut shells and spent probably 15 minutes pulling each of them out. The removals themselves didn’t hurt, but the force of the pulling on my jaw combined with keeping my mouth open for such a prolonged period of time did. The whole ordeal took about an hour. From here, the test of the pineapple juice’s curative properties began.
I was prescribed only ibuprofen and an antibiotic and sent on my way. The hours following the procedure, I did indeed bleed heavily, but I was able to stop using gauze by late afternoon. My face looked largely normal, and I wasn’t really in much pain at all. Frankly, I couldn’t imagine having a need to be prescribed anything stronger than ibuprofen. The following two days, my swelling did increase somewhat. My lower cheeks were puffy to the point where I narcissitically hated my face, but not to the point where anyone who didn’t know me would give me a second glance. Pain-wise, I felt perfectly fine. At worst, the sockets stung a bit.
It’s now Monday morning, and I feel much the same as I did before the surgery. In fact, I actually feel better: The pain my wisdom tooth caused me when they were still in my mouth was far worse than anything I’ve felt since their removal. Moreover, my swelling is almost entirely invisible to anyone but me. Following the axiom @mack_attack323 stated in her video, I don’t have much pain or swelling, so I’m going to consider the pineapple juice a success, even though I didn’t drink very much of it. And the beauty of the whole thing, as she also mentioned, is that I don’t have anything to compare it to and likely never will. But if I did, I’d probably give the pineapple juice a shot again. Maybe I’ll even try it for other types of surgeries.
In the meantime, though, I think I’ll leave the pineapple juice for rum drinks. Maybe once I’m off the antibiotics and all healed up, I’ll have one in celebration.