Does Drinking Pineapple Juice for a Tooth Extraction Help With Swelling?
Updated: Sep 14
Social media has many claims that if I drink enough pineapple juice it will improve swelling, inflammation and healing after a tooth extraction. So how true is this claim?
Complications After Extractions
There are three main concerns after a tooth extraction in order of onset: bleeding, pain, and swelling. Bleeding is usually controlled under 2 hours from heavily biting on gauze or black teabags. Pain is often controlled within 24 hours by taking ibuprofen 800mg or Tylenol 500mg around mealtime and bedtime during the first 24 hours after treatment.
Swelling is inflammation, which is a bodily response to remove any irritants after trauma. Most patients do not swell or bruise after an extraction but those usually affected have an impacted or difficult tooth to remove, the patient takes blood thinners or has health challenges.
Patients with these conditions could consider anti-inflammatory means.
Pineapple is a food that contains the highest amount of enzymes called bromelain known for controlling swelling and fighting pain.
Too Much Pineapple
Eating too much pineapple causes canker sores and Montezuma's revenge in the digestive tract. The precaution to pineapple is that it has shown to slow blood clotting and leads to increased bleeding and bruising after extractions especially in those taking blood thinner medications.
How Much Pineapple Do I Need to Eat for it to Work?
The suggested amount of bromelain needed to effectively calm inflammation is 240-960 mg of bromelain a day. A whole pineapple has roughly 30mg of bromelain with the crux contained in the core, which often goes uneaten. This means a person would have to eat 8-32 whole pineapples per day to effect inflammatory responses. Pineapple juice is a diluted source of bromelain, which means you would have to drink even more than what you would eat just to have any effect on inflammation and swelling.
If inflammation around a difficult tooth extraction remains your concern, we highly suggest taking bromelain supplements of 500mg, 1-2 tablets per day, starting the day before and continuing for a few days after treatment. Drinking or eating pineapples has no effect on reducing inflammation or swelling regardless what social media says UNLESS you intend on eating at least 8 whole pineapples. Ibuprofen (a great anti-inflammatory) or Tylenol are still sufficient sources to control pain and swelling. These medicines are supported by research while bromelain still has contradictory findings. Save eating pineapples for more enjoyable experiences like on pizza or at a luau instead.