Teeth whitening is one of the top dental priorities for many patients. Luckily, there are many options available to achieve those goals. From in-office treatments to whitening toothpaste to at-home remedies, there is no shortage of methods. One natural whitening method that is gaining popularity is the use of turmeric. Like activated charcoal, turmeric, at first glance, seems to be a counter-intuitive choice for whitening. Can turmeric whiten your teeth?
What is turmeric?
Turmeric is a plant native to southern Asia. The roots of this plant are boiled and dried into a beautiful golden colored powder: this is the turmeric present in most kitchen spice cabinets. Turmeric has been used in a variety of ways from thousands of years, most notably as a fabric dye and as a component of eastern medicine.
How does it work?
Because of its long history of being used to dye cloth yellow, it may seem wrong to use turmeric to whiten teeth, yet there is no shortage of anecdotal evidence that it does work to whiten teeth. Turmeric, which also contains astringent properties, acts as a gentle abrasive. Gentle abrasion helps to remove surface stains on teeth.
Pros of using turmeric to whiten teeth
Unlike many conventional whitening products that may irritate sensitive gums, turmeric can help relieve dental inflammation. Additionally, thanks to the essential oil of curcumin that is present in turmeric, turmeric pastes also help fight gingivitis. Researchers in the latter study noted that turmeric was just as effective as chlorhexidine mouthwash in fighting plaque.
Cons of using turmeric
- Taste: The first and most obvious difference in using a turmeric-based whitening paste is the taste. Unlike the minty fresh taste that we usually associate with dental products, the turmeric tastes earthy, warm, and spicy.
- Bathroom stains: Because turmeric does stain, it may make a bit of a mess in your bathroom. However, keeping a microfiber cloth nearby will help you wipe up any spilled powder. Note: clean up any spilled turmeric to avoid set-in stains later.
How to whiten your teeth with turmeric
Whitening your teeth with turmeric is as simple as a trip to your pantry. Simply sprinkle about 1/8 teaspoon of turmeric onto your brush and apply to your teeth. Let the powder sit for about 3 minutes before rinsing off. Brush as usual to remove any residual turmeric. Your teeth will look yellow unless you remove all of the powder.
Additionally, mixing the turmeric with a few other ingredients will not only make it easier to apply but will also pump up the whitening power. Mix the following ingredients in a ramekin:
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
What to do:
- Using your toothbrush, apply the turmeric paste and brush it on your teeth.
- Let the mixture sit on your teeth for 3-5 minutes.
- Then, brush with your regular toothpaste.
- Try this routine once a day for one week. It’s best not to use any abrasive paste on a long term basis.
While you won’t end up with a blindingly white smile, over time, you will notice a brighter smile as the surface stains are scrubbed away.