We all know turmeric as the bright yellow spice used in curry dishes. And if you've ever gotten it on your clothes, you know how difficult it can be to remove.
Interestingly enough, it is said to have the opposite effect on teeth—anecdotal evidence suggests that it may actually whiten them.
But turmeric is different from other natural teeth whitening methods—this spice has some history in the dental care field, and it's far safer to use than orange peels or other acidic products.
Does Turmeric Actually Whiten Teeth?
Turmeric has been celebrated as a natural teeth whitening agent for centuries. What makes it unique is its active component, curcumin.
Curcumin is the ingredient found in turmeric that gives it its bright yellow color. It is an incredibly powerful antioxidant that protects against free radical damage.
Its water- and fat-soluble extracts, including curcumin, offer superior protection compared to vitamins C and E—making it a reliable choice for holistic health.
According to extensive research, turmeric also provides numerous dental benefits to its users:
- Pain Management: Applying a warm turmeric paste to tender teeth can ease discomfort and reduce swelling. For those with sensitive teeth, a roasted turmeric paste can be used to reduce sensitivity.
- Periodontal Issues: To eliminate the irritating symptoms of gingivitis or periodontitis, users can make a paste from 1 teaspoon of turmeric with ½ teaspoon each of salt and mustard oil. Users can rub this soothing blend onto their teeth and gumline twice per day for maximum benefits.
- Mouthwash: In a study published by the Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice, turmeric mouthwash was compared against manual plaque removal techniques. The turmeric mouthwash proved to be just as effective in reducing plaque and gingivitis.
- Anticancer Properties: Turmeric's anticancer properties may translate to oral health too. Studies show that turmeric and its constituents can inhibit the growth of oral cancer cells in vitro, meaning it has potential to reduce the risk of certain oral cancers.
None of these things mean that turmeric can whiten teeth, but they do indicate that it is an effective tool in protecting teeth against cavities and other dental issues. And if it can be used to protect teeth from future discoloration and dental problems, then its benefits are still valid, regardless of its teeth whitening abilities.
That said, turmeric cannot serve as an adequate stand-in for medical teeth whitening treatments or substitute general oral hygiene practices.
Is Turmeric Safe For Teeth Whitening?
Still, no research regarding turmeric's ability to whiten teeth has been conducted. And most dental professionals agree that it cannot be used to whiten teeth significantly.
However, its ability to neutralize free radicals is similar to that of olive oil, which is known to remove stains from teeth. And its ability to remove plaque, improve gum health, and reduce inflammation makes it a safe and natural choice for those looking to improve their oral hygiene.
Aside from teeth whitening side effects (which are minimal with turmeric), the powder stains things easily. And it can quickly make a mess if you aren't careful.
When using turmeric for teeth whitening, be sure to use it sparingly and clean up any residue immediately.
Will A Turmeric And Coconut Oil Mixture Work For Teeth Whitening?
Coconut oil is a popular ingredient used in oil pulling, a procedure where users swish oil around their mouth for 20 minutes and then spit it out. Like turmeric use, research backs its oral health benefits—specifically its ability to reduce bad breath and plaque buildup—but not its ability to whiten teeth.
That said, turmeric is a safe and natural ingredient to use, even when combined with coconut oil. The two may work together better than they would separately, and the mixture could help improve overall oral hygiene, but it's not likely to whiten teeth significantly.
How To Use Turmeric For Teeth Whitening
If you don't want to consider other teeth whitening options, there's no reason not to try an at-home teeth whitening method like turmeric. It is safe to use, and its other health benefits are backed by scientific research.
There are a few ways you can try to whiten your teeth with turmeric:
1. Add To Your Regular Brushing Regimen.
Adding turmeric to your existing regimen is the easiest and most cost-effective way to try out turmeric for teeth whitening. Doing so will turn your bristles yellow, but it won't affect the whitening process.
If you find the taste of raw turmeric unpalatable, try adding a drop or two of peppermint or spearmint extract to your toothbrush for a better flavor.
Sprinkle a pinch of pure turmeric powder onto your toothbrush. Moisten the bristles and then dip them into the power to ensure an even coating. To avoid cross-contamination, never dip your toothbrush directly into the container of turmeric.
Brush your teeth as usual, and make sure to cover your gums and pearly whites with the turmeric powder. Instead of rinsing it off immediately, allow the powder to sit on your chompers for a minimum of five minutes before cleaning it away.
For a thorough cleansing, brush and rinse one more time to make sure all traces of turmeric powder are gone.
2. Make Homemade Toothpaste With Coconut Oil.
Crafting your own turmeric toothpaste is a simple process—all you have to do is combine raw turmeric powder and regular coconut oil. ¼ teaspoon of turmeric combined with 1/8 teaspoon of melted coconut oil is enough to make a paste-like consistency.
To improve its effectiveness, you could also add baking soda to whiten your teeth further. Baking soda is a proven whitening agent, and its abrasive qualities will help scrub away tough stains.
For a pleasant flavor and fresher breath, add a few drops of peppermint or spearmint extract to the mixture before applying it to your teeth.
3. Find Turmeric-Based Toothpaste At The Store Or Online.
Since fluoride is an effective teeth whitening method, ready-made turmeric toothpaste is an optimal option for those short on time. However, the quantity of turmeric in these products may not be enough to provide the significant whitening benefits that you would get from applying powder directly. Still, they are a solid way to maintain oral health and reduce yellow stains on your toothbrush.
The Bottom Line
Although turmeric isn't a proven teeth whitener, it offers many other ways to improve your smile. Using turmeric-based toothpaste, making your own homemade concoction, or adding the powder to your regular brushing routine can help you maintain a healthy mouth.
Turmeric is a relatively harmless ingredient, but it's important to remember that it isn't a substitute for traditional dental hygiene practices. Make sure to brush your teeth twice a day, floss at least once per day, and see your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups. This way, you can ensure your mouth is always healthy, and your smile stays bright.
Want to know more? Here are a few questions our customers frequently ask us:
Is It Good To Brush Your Teeth With Turmeric?
Brushing your teeth with turmeric is safe and beneficial for your oral health. Its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties can help relieve the symptoms of tooth sensitivity, reduce the risk of gingivitis and gum disease, fight tooth decay, and promote general dental hygiene.
How Long Does It Take For Turmeric To Whiten Teeth?
Only anecdotal evidence supports turmeric's ability to whiten teeth, so it's difficult to determine how long it will take to see results. To enjoy the benefits of white teeth, it is best to try well-researched natural whiteners like baking soda or hydrogen peroxide.
Will Turmeric Make Teeth Yellow?
Although turmeric turns everything it touches yellow, it won't stain your teeth.
However, if you don't rinse your mouth and brush your teeth thoroughly after using turmeric powder, the residue may linger and create a yellowish hue on your teeth.
Does Turmeric Stain Teeth Permanently?
Turmeric does not cause permanent staining of the teeth. If you diligently rinse and brush your teeth after using turmeric powder, there won't be any lasting discoloration. However, it may linger if you attempt to whiten with it and don’t clean your mouth thoroughly.
Is Turmeric Good For Gum Inflammation?
Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, so it can be beneficial for reducing gum inflammation. It may help reduce the risk of plaque and tartar buildup, as well as gingivitis and other periodontal diseases. This also makes it good for managing symptoms of gum sensitivity and preventing future issues.
Does Turmeric Toothpaste Whiten Teeth?
Turmeric toothpaste does not whiten teeth any more than regular toothpaste does. However, it can be used to maintain healthy and white teeth by reducing plaque buildup and fighting bacteria. Thanks to turmeric's anti-inflammatory properties, it can also help relieve the symptoms of sensitive teeth and gums.
What Foods Can Naturally Whiten Teeth?
Many people use apples for teeth whitening because they are both fibrous and contain malic acid, which can help remove surface stains. Eating crunchy veggies like carrots and celery are also good for natural teeth whitening since they help scrub away plaque and bacteria. Strawberries, pineapple, and watermelon are also great options since they contain many of the same nutrients.