Many studies have been conducted to answer the question, “Does turmeric whiten teeth?” and many of them have suggested that, indeed, it may well do the trick! In a review published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research and in a study published in International Quarterly Journal of Ayurveda, it possesses possible oral health benefits.
This is because turmeric has well-known anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, thus, its traditional uses in the prevention and treatment of gingivitis, periodontitis, and plaque, as well as in reducing oral pain.
Turmeric, a flowering plant belonging to the ginger family, has been used for centuries in Chinese and Indian traditional medicine.
The root itself, the part of the plant used for human consumption, looks like ginger but it has a deep orange-yellow color. When it’s processed into powder, it has a warm and bitter flavor with black pepper-like undertones, as well as an earthy aroma similar to mustard.
Emphasis must be made that in do-it-yourself turmeric teeth whitening, the homemade toothpaste is a combination of turmeric powder and other ingredients, such as water and coconut oil. Turmeric powder can be purchased as is in many health food stores, supermarkets, and Asian delis, as well as used as a spice in dishes like curries. When used as a spice in dishes, it adds flavor to the food and boosts the body’s overall health.
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How Does Turmeric Whiten Teeth?
When turmeric toothpaste is regularly and properly used, it can contribute to teeth whitening because it has mild abrasive and astringent properties. While its astringent property may have an impact on the health of the teeth, especially on their enamel, the risk is so low that it isn’t a cause for concern.
But keep in mind, too, that while there are advantages in using a turmeric-based toothpaste for teeth whitening purposes, it also has disadvantages. Every consumer then has the responsibility of deciding for himself or herself whether turmeric will address his or her teeth whitening needs.
On one hand, turmeric powder is a natural substance with little to no risks including side effects involved in its proper use. It is, after all, a common spice used in a wide range of dishes, especially in Indian cuisine, so it’s as safe as can be. It is, furthermore, a safe and effective herbal treatment for mild oral issues like gum inflammation and pain.
On the other hand, turmeric powder is neither a substitute for medications in case of dental illnesses nor for cosmetic tooth whitening treatments. In fact, it should never be a replacement for good daily oral healthcare habit and for regular dental appointments. Plus, it will not be as effective and efficient as cosmetic teeth whitening treatments but it’s a great natural method.
If you have questions about teeth whitening, especially its suitability in your case, we suggest asking your dentist about it. Your yellowish teeth may not respond so well to a homemade turmeric toothpaste as, say, that of your friend who already has pearly-white teeth. Your less-than-pristine white teeth may also have an underlying cause and only a dentist will be able to diagnose and treat it, if there’s any.
Does Turmeric Whiten Teeth: Three Possible Methods
When you’re considering using turmeric as your do-it-yourself, natural tooth whitener, you have to consider three methods. You should consider the pros and cons of each one, too, before making your decision. You can, of course, experiment with all three methods and determine which one suits your needs including your budget, available time, and desired results the most.
1. Make your own turmeric toothpaste
This is the most popular method because making your own turmeric-based toothpaste is affordable, fast and easy. The common turmeric toothpaste recipe involves the following steps:
- Mix ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder and 1/8 teaspoon melted coconut oil in a small bowl.
- Blend these two ingredients well until a paste is formed.
- Add ¼ teaspoon baking soda to thicken it up and to make the paste mildly abrasive.
- Blend again until the baking soda is well-incorporated into the paste.
- Add a drop or two of peppermint or mint extract.
The turmeric and coconut oil combination makes sense because the latter makes the former cling to the gums and teeth better. Plus, coconut oil also has several benefits for dental health. If necessary, heat the coconut oil over low heat, if it’s in a semi-solid or solid form. Coconut oil becomes liquid at 74 to 76 degrees.
The peppermint or mint extract may or may not be necessary depending on your tolerance for the taste of turmeric. For many people unfamiliar with it, turmeric has a funky taste that doesn’t event taste similar to ginger despite these spices belonging to the same family. The peppermint or mint extract serve many purposes, from lessening the funky taste in the mouth to increasing the refreshing feeling after brushing, as if a conventional toothpaste has been used.
The abovementioned recipe should be sufficient for a single brushing session. But if you want to make a turmeric-coconut oil natural toothpaste for several sessions, the ratio is: 1 part coconut oil, 1 part baking soda, and 2 parts turmeric powder. Add the peppermint or mint extract as desired.
Store the paste in a cool place, such as a refrigerator. We recommend using a batch within three days after it has been mixed to ensure freshness. Dispose any stale turmeric paste in the trash.
Brushing teeth with turmeric toothpaste is easy since it’s the same as brushing with conventional toothpaste. There are obvious differences, too, since the DIY toothpaste has a bright orange-yellow hue, a fact that can result in minor inconveniences.
A few important tips to remember:
- Wet your toothbrush by running it under the tap or dipping it into a glass of water.
- Pour a liberal amount of the turmeric-coconut oil toothpaste into your toothpaste. Avoid dipping your toothbrush into the DIY toothpaste to prevent the spread of bacteria from one toothbrush to another. But if you’re planning on using the entire batch for a single session,
- Brush your teeth with care just as you would with a regular toothbrush and toothpaste. Be sure to spread the turmeric powder on your teeth and gums. Keep in mind, too, that you have to brush your teeth for five minutes while making sure to cover all quadrants.
- Let the turmeric-coconut oil toothpaste sit in your mouth for five minutes. Doing so will make the turmeric more effective in maintaining oral health.
- Rinse your mouth thoroughly with water. Use water flossers to improve whitening effect also since the pressurized water from a water flosser’s nozzle will get into the hard-to-reach areas of your mouth. The cleaner your mouth is, the white it will be because of the absence of plaque buildup, among other reasons.
- Brush your teeth with regular toothpaste again. This should remove most, if not all, of the remaining turmeric paste including its color, flavor and aroma from your mouth.
When you use the turmeric toothpaste regularly, you should be accustomed to its taste soon enough. But it’s still important to brush your teeth with regular toothpaste since the turmeric paste’s bright orange-yellow color can be slightly difficult to remove.
2. Buy a commercially available toothpaste with turmeric and curcumin.
This is a less time-consuming way of using turmeric paste as a natural teeth whitening method. You can purchase commercially available toothpastes with turmeric and curcumin from supermarkets, pharmacies, and health food stores. Just ask the staff about the availability of these products since these aren’t as common as, say, Colgate, Crest, and Sensodyne.
These turmeric-infused toothpastes are preferred by people who want the teeth whitening benefits of turmeric but don’t want to deal with the hassles of brushing and rinsing away the orange-yellow color from their mouth. This is because these toothpastes don’t have as much turmeric as in a DIY turmeric paste.
And therein lies the rub. The use of a turmeric-infused toothpaste will likely not provide as much a teeth whitening benefit as using the DIY turmeric-coconut oil toothpaste.
3. Buy a turmeric-based tooth whitening powder
This is the middle ground, so to speak, between using a DIY turmeric-coconut oil toothpaste and a commercially available turmeric toothpaste. You will still get the teeth whitening benefits although, again, the actual results will vary depending on the strength of the turmeric-based tooth whitening powder, among other factors.
In all three methods, the importance of thoroughly rinsing your mouth and flossing your teeth (i.e., a water flosser is the most effective) cannot be overemphasized, as will be explained in the next section.
Does Turmeric Stain Teeth?
When you’re using turmeric to whiten teeth, you have to remember that the orange-yellow spice will leave its bright color behind on nearly everything it touches – unless, you immediately and thoroughly clean it!
Yes, it will definitely leave a stain on your teeth, gums and even the corners of your mouth, as can be expected.
But the stain can be removed by a thorough rinsing followed by another round of brushing your teeth with regular toothpaste, as recommended earlier. You may have to rinse your mouth and use a water flosser for more than five minutes until every orange-yellow residue can be removed.
But that’s not all. You may also observe the orange-yellow color in the corners of your mouth. But again, it’s nothing that a paper towel, a splash of water, and a few brisk scrubs over the stained area cannot be removed.
Your white sink, unfortunately, may also have mild stains left from the turmeric products. Let the tap water run over the stains, pour a few drops of liquid hand soap or detergent soap on them, and use elbow grease to remove them. Be sure to scrub away the stains as soon as you’re done brushing your teeth (i.e., second round) so that the color doesn’t seep through the ceramic.
Your toothbrush will also be obviously stained a bright orange-yellow hue from the turmeric. You can use it just as you would with a regular toothbrush although we recommend using another toothbrush for your regular toothpaste. You should discard both after three months of use, as recommended by dentists.
Be sure to wash your hands, too, since the turmeric powder or paste can also temporarily stain your skin. The stain should be easily removed by using a regular hand soap.
These are minor inconveniences when you finally see the result after a single brushing with a turmeric-based toothpaste: Your chompers look and feel cleaner than usual. You will not observe a significant whitening effect with a single brushing but over time, you should see a gradual whitening.
Does Turmeric Whiten Your Teeth: Tips to Remember
As we previously implied, turmeric isn’t a magic bullet for yellowish teeth, far from it. You have to remember that it has its limitations, too, so the following tips should always be kept in mind.
First off, how often can you whiten your teeth using turmeric? Use one of the three abovementioned methods only once a day, and stick to it. You may want faster results but using the DIY turmeric-coconut oil toothpaste or the turmeric-based teeth whitening powder can have side effects, mainly because of the ingredients’ astringent and abrasive properties.
Baking soda may cause teeth whitening but when it’s used more times than recommended, it can cause inflamed or irritated gums. Your gum tissues are soft and sensitive so brushing your teeth with a DIY baking soda-infused toothpaste two or more times a day can increase their risk for injuries and illnesses.
In case of the commercially available turmeric toothpastes, we suggest reading the product label for safe and effective use. Most manufacturers also recommend a once-a-day use.
Second, when can you use the turmeric teeth whitening products? You can use them at your most convenient time – either in the morning or evening – but you will agree that evening use is best.
If you have a regular 2-minute brushing routine, you can forget about it when you’re using turmeric for teeth whitening purposes. From the brushing, letting it sit, and rinsing with the turmeric paste to the second round of brushing, flossing and rinsing, you will take 10 minutes or more per session.
You will likely not have 10 minutes to spend on brushing your teeth when you’re rushing for work in the morning. Your best bet then is in the evening when you’re getting ready for bed. In the morning, your chompers will be better for it, too.
In conclusion, turmeric for teeth whitening isn’t just a fad because it can work. But you should still adopt good oral health habits, keep your dentist’s appointments, and eat a healthy diet, all in the name of keeping your teeth and gums healthy.