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Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a yellow-orange spice native to Southeast Asia. It is related to ginger.1
People use turmeric as a culinary spice to add flavor and color to food. Some traditional medicine systems, such as those in India and China, also use turmeric for medicinal purposes.1
Learn about the safest ways to whiten your teeth.
There is no scientific reason to use turmeric to whiten your teeth. However, some dentists say that turmeric may reduce or eliminate tooth stains.5
To make a DIY turmeric paste, mix:
Apply the paste to your teeth for a few minutes. You can also use a toothbrush to brush the paste onto your teeth. Spit it out after use and rinse your mouth with water.
Some people chew turmeric root to whiten the teeth, then spit it out and rinse with water. But this process can take a lot of time since you need to chew the root around every individual tooth.
Most turmeric products are safe and non-toxic when used as recommended.1 Around 40 to 85% of consumed turmeric passes through the digestive tract unchanged.3
But there is the potential for turmeric to cause some problems. Adverse effects that may occur with turmeric include:3
Digestive problems such as:
See NewMouth’s top 10 teeth whitening products of 2022.
Many studies explore the proposed health benefits of turmeric. However, there is no research to support the use of turmeric as a tooth whitener.
Curcumin is responsible for most of the potentially therapeuticproperties of turmeric. Some studies also claim curcumin has health benefits that may improve oral health.
Turmeric may affect oral health by acting as an:
More research is necessary to confirm the oral health benefits of turmeric and curcumin. But in one 2013 study, researchers suggest that the potential dental applications of turmeric include:3
Using ground, roasted turmeric to massage the teeth and gums may reduce inflammation and swelling.
According to Dr. Khushbu Gopalakrishnan, one of NewMouth’s in-house dentists, “it is important to visit a dentist if you have persistent pain that is not improving over time, rather than using turmeric or other products to simply treat the symptoms and not the underlying disease.”
Periodontitis is a type of bone disease, while gingivitis refers to gum disease. Both can cause gingival inflammation and pain.
Rubbing the teeth and gums with a paste made from 1 tsp turmeric, ½ tsp salt, and ½ tsp mustard oil twice daily may reduce the symptoms of these conditions.
Using a mouthwash made by dissolving 10 mg of curcumin extract in 100 ml of distilled water and 0.005% of peppermint oil may be as effective as the prescription mouthwash chlorhexidine.
In a 2012 study, a turmeric mouthwash had similar efficacy to traditional mouthwashes in its anti-plaque, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory abilities.4
Scaling and root planing, or “deep cleanings” are usually done in a dentist’s office to treat periodontitis. Using a 2% turmeric gel alongside scaling and root planing may increase its effectiveness.
Compounds in turmeric may reduce the risk of cancer. They might also reduce the risk of precancerous lesions such as leukoplakia and lichen planus from becoming cancerous.
There are more effective products you can use to whiten your teeth at home. You can also have your teeth whitened by a dental professional.
Effective whitening treatments typically use bleaching compounds, including hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These compounds reach below the tooth’s surface to remove stains from the outside of teeth. Whitening products and treatments only work on natural teeth, not on teeth with fillings and crowns.
There is no scientific evidence to support the use of turmeric for tooth whitening. But turmeric may benefit oral health by acting as an anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant agent.
Instead, several at-home products and professional treatments can effectively reduce tooth discoloration and provide a whiter smile. These include LED whitening kits, in-office whitening, and over-the-counter (OTC) whitening products like toothpaste and mouthwash.
Talk to a dentist about the best way to whiten your teeth.
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