A beautiful smile instantly makes you look younger and more confident. So, why is it that you don’t smile more often?
Are you being held back by unattractive or discolored teeth?
Well, you aren’t alone!
Recent studies suggest that the market for global teeth whitening products will reach USD 740 billion by 2024.
This means one thing—there are thousands of people on a quest to achieve gleaming white teeth.
Most of them turn to over-the-counter teeth whitening products like bleach and whitening strips for achieving quick results. However, there is a flip side to using such products—continued use of cosmetic whitening treatments can wear away the enamel, cause tooth sensitivity and other unwanted side-effects.
Fortunately, we can achieve similar results with natural ingredients like turmeric that naturally whiten teeth without any health hazards.
Let us take a closer look at turmeric and understand how it works to whiten teeth.
What Exactly Is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a golden yellow root that resembles ginger. It grows extensively in India, Africa and China. It has a distinct yellow color and quickly stains any surface or item that it touches.
This fragrant yellow spice is an indispensable part of Indian and Asian cooking. So, if you have ever attempted Asian cooking, you may even have this spice in your pantry.
If not, you can find turmeric in raw or powdered form in the spice section of general supermarkets or at Asian grocery stores.
The spice powder is obtained from the root or rhizome of the plant. When harvested, the root can be used directly. However, it is common practice to boil and powder the root to yield aromatic turmeric powder that can be stored for later use.
Before we move on to finding out how this herb can be used to whiten teeth, let us look at the different uses of this golden herb and its various health benefits.
A Quick Look at the Various Uses of Turmeric
For several centuries, turmeric has enjoyed profound importance in ancient Eastern medicine as a powerful herb with numerous medicinal properties. Turmeric contains bio-active compounds called curcuminoids, the most important of which is curcumin.
Curcumin has powerful anti-oxidant properties. It has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, improves brain functioning and reduces risk of heart conditions. Here are some of the ways you can benefit from using turmeric.
- Improves liver health : Turmeric can control and prevent the build-up of fat in the liver. So, it is highly recommended for use by patients who suffer from liver injuries and health concerns.
- Provides pain relief : The effects of turmeric are comparable to that of pain-relieving drugs like Ibuprofen which are used by patients suffering from arthritic pain. It is also effective at providing pain relief for dental conditions like gingivitis.
- Acts against cancerous cells : Turmeric is heralded as a magical herb with powerful cancer-fighting properties. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, can inhibit the growth of tumor cells.
- Improves digestive ability : Turmeric is extensively in cooking and in ancient Ayurvedic medicines due to its ability to enhance digestive activity. It has been found to be effective in treating disorders like ulcerative colitis that causes diarrhea and severe abdominal pain.
- Boosts immunity : Turmeric contains lipopolysaccharide, which has powerful anti-microbial properties. Regular consumption of turmeric can boost immunity levels and help you keep colds and other infectious diseases at bay.
Let us now try to find out more about how you can use turmeric to whiten teeth.
Turmeric for Teeth Whitening—a Powerful Natural Remedy That Works
As a spice that adds a distinct yellow color to any dish it is used in, turmeric is notorious for staining anything it touches. So, the question is, won’t it stain your teeth with the same bright yellow color?
Curiously, it doesn’t!
Instead, turmeric does just the opposite—it removes existing stains from teeth and lightens the color.
At this point, I must reveal that there are no scientific studies that investigate how or why it works. However, there are many studies that link turmeric to improved oral hygiene and dental health.
For instance, this study in 2012 revealed that turmeric has good anti-plaque, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties when used as a mouthwash on a regular basis.
Another study in 2013 explored the use of turmeric to relieve various dental problems and concluded that it was highly effective in reducing dental pain, preventing oral cancers and managing conditions like periodontitis.
So, this proves beyond doubt that turmeric is highly effective in dental care.
Now regarding the effectiveness of turmeric in teeth whitening, ask someone who has tried it and they will tell you about the significant difference it made.
Of course, results will take longer than commercial teeth whitening treatments. After all, this is a natural product that doesn’t use harsh abrasives and strong chemicals to produce results.
Nevertheless, it works!
And on the bright side, you will also not have to worry about your teeth becoming brittle or unnaturally translucent like when you use whitening strips and bleaching agents.
How to Use Turmeric for Teeth Whitening?
There are two ways in which you add turmeric into your daily oral care routine. Choose the one that is convenient for you.
1. Use turmeric powder in the raw form
- Put some high-quality turmeric powder in a container to use only for brushing.
- Lightly moisten the bristles of your toothbrush and dip it into this powder.
- Brush as usual, ensuring that you reach all the hard-to-access areas of your mouth.
- Leave the turmeric on your teeth for at least 5 to 10 minutes. This ensures that it has enough time to act on existing stains.
- Rinse as usual and follow up with your regular toothpaste.
Turmeric in the raw form can leave an unpleasant after-taste that you may not like. Brushing afterwards with your regular toothpaste can eliminate this taste. Alternately, you can add a drop or two of spearmint to tolerate the taste.
2. Make your own turmeric toothpaste
All you need are two simple ingredients to make your own turmeric toothpaste—turmeric and coconut oil.
- Mix ½ teaspoon turmeric with 1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil and combine well. Store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
- When you wish to use the toothpaste, gently apply and massage it into your teeth and gums.
- Leave it on for 5 to 10 minutes, so the active ingredients have enough time to work.
- Rinse thoroughly and follow up with your regular tooth paste.
Note : I found an interesting variation of the same recipe here, where Dr. Burhenne suggests adding ½ tsp baking soda and ¼ teaspoon L-Arginine into the recipe.
Baking soda enhances the cleansing action and removes stains, while L-arginine prevents tooth decay. This apparently enhances the effectiveness of the recipe and produces better results.
If you give this recipe a try, do let us know how it works out.
Apart from using turmeric in the above ways, you can also find toothpastes or tooth powders containing turmeric. However, such toothpastes and tooth powders usually contain very little turmeric. Hence, you may not obtain the same results as you would when you directly apply turmeric powder to your teeth.
Nevertheless, you will still get some dental health benefits. So, if you are more interested in good dental hygiene than actual teeth whitening itself, you may find this more convenient.
Important Points to Note Before Using Turmeric for Teeth Whitening
Here are the different factors to consider and be prepared for before you attempt to use turmeric for teeth whitening.
1. Keep in mind that turmeric stains most surfaces
The rich, golden-color of turmeric stains most surfaces like paper, skin, cloth, walls, rugs, wood; basically, anything that it touches.
So, be very careful when storing and using this spice or you can end up with unsightly stains that are very difficult to remove. Also, don’t forget to clean your sink immediately afterwards to avoid yellow stains from setting in. And if you end up with turmeric staining your clothes or other surfaces, try using a mixture of white vinegar, warm water and liquid soap on the stain.
2. Use a different toothbrush for use with turmeric
Your toothbrush bristles will turn yellow once you start using turmeric. So, it is a good idea to maintain two toothbrushes—one for turmeric paste and the other for regular brushing.
3. Choose good quality turmeric powder for use
The benefits of this treatment are enhanced when you use high quality ingredients. Organic turmeric powder is the ideal choice for teeth whitening, as it is free from all types of chemical additives. Turmeric has a relatively long shelf-life of about 2-3 years. However, proper storage of this spice is also important to retain its natural qualities. Always store unused turmeric powder in an air-tight container, away from moisture and heat to prolong its effectiveness.
4. Don’t expect immediate results
Unlike whitening strips and other products, turmeric is a natural ingredient that works slowly, but effectively. This also means that it doesn’t have any of the unwanted side-effects that are caused by these chemical products. You may enjoy visible results after the first use, but it is not guaranteed. Give it some time and you should start seeing significant difference in a month or less.
5. Create fresh batches of turmeric toothpaste every week
If you decide to make and store your own turmeric toothpaste, ensure that you prepare fresh batches every few days.
There are two benefits to this—fresher the ingredients, the more effective it will be, and it reduces the chance of bacterial growth due to long-term storage.
6. Pay attention to hygiene when employing this method
Whether you use fresh turmeric powder from a jar or your own turmeric toothpaste, never dip the toothbrush directly into the container. This can spread bacteria in the sample.
Instead, wet the bristles first and then dip it into the container. Also make sure that you wash the brush thoroughly in warm water after every use and store it away from moisture and contaminants till the next use.
Pros and Cons of Turmeric Teeth Whitening
There are so many natural and conventional teeth whitening treatments that you can try. So, why opt for turmeric teeth whitening?
Here are the pros of this technique:
1. Zero side-effects : People have been using turmeric for centuries without any side-effects. Turmeric teeth whitening involves natural ingredients with nearly zero side-effects. So, even if you decide to stop using this method or aren’t fully satisfied with the results, you will not have compromised on your health in any way.
2. Inexpensive treatment : Compare the cost of buying few natural ingredients for turmeric teeth whitening to the price for a whitening strip or your dentist’s charges and you will see how cost-effective it is.
3. Convenient and practical : All you need is some turmeric powder or a turmeric toothpaste and your toothbrush to begin whitening your teeth. You can forget all about long queues at the dentist and longer bills and still enjoy similar results.
Having looked at the benefits, you should remember that unlike conventional teeth whitening treatments, turmeric will not whiten your teeth overnight. This is especially true if your teeth are affected by strong stains like coffee, tea or tobacco use.
Consistent and regular application is necessary for the turmeric to get rid of the stains that have built up over time.
So, be prepared to wait till you obtain results. When you decide to try turmeric teeth whitening, also remember that it involves more time than your normal brushing sessions to obtain results.
Raw turmeric usually leaves a lingering taste which is not unpleasant, but not too great either. However, if that bothers you, simply fix the problem by adding a few drops of spearmint to your toothbrush.
To Wrap Up…
Turmeric teeth whitening is an unconventional, but effective treatment to rid your teeth of stubborn, old stains.
It will take time. However, the method is well-worth a try as it not only lightens teeth, but also enhances dental hygiene leaving you with healthier, better-looking teeth without causing any unpleasant side-effects.