Turmeric is commonly used as a cooking spice but it also has many medicinal properties and health benefits. It has been in use for medicinal purposes since times immemorial. In traditional systems of medicine such as Ayurveda of India, turmeric is prescribed in the treatment of digestive problems and inflammation. It is also used as an antiseptic to treat cuts and wounds. Studies indicate that it may also be effective in preventing certain cancers. However, the teeth whitening properties of turmeric are not well known. Many people are skeptical because turmeric has a characteristic color and causes stains itself. Turmeric is widely used in India as a teeth whitening remedy and in the treatment of dental and gum infections. Does turmeric provide effective results? Is it a good natural teeth whitener? Let us find out.
Turmeric for teeth whitening
Turmeric powder is obtained by grinding the dried rhizomes of the turmeric plant (Curcuma longa). Turmeric contains a chemical known as ‘curcumin’ which has many health benefits. It has antiseptic and anti-oxidant properties. It also boosts the immune system. Turmeric can be used to treat dental problems such as toothache and gingivitis. It is also effective in relieving tooth sensitivity. Since turmeric has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, it can be used to prevent the buildup of bacteria in the mouth and to prevent plaque formation. In some parts of the world, the raw turmeric rhizome is chewed with neem leaves to prevent dental problems.
Turmeric is also beneficial for tooth ache and in preventing dental cavities. Dental cavities are caused by bacteria that build up on the tooth surface. The bacteria break down sugar and synthesise acids which eat through the surface of the tooth. This leads to the formation of a dental cavity. Turmeric prevents bacterial buildup and reduces the risk of dental cavities. Apart from these benefits, turmeric also can be used for whitening your teeth.
How does turmeric whiten teeth?
Turmeric has been proven to be effective in whitening teeth. Turmeric has astringent properties. It is also mildly abrasive. Turmeric works by cleansing the tooth surface directly. Further, it is also effective against bacterial buildup as it contains chemicals with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Turmeric can also be used to enhance the efficacy of other natural teeth whiteners such as coconut oil and baking soda. Turmeric is very mild and therefore doesn’t have any side effects such as increased tooth sensitivity that occurs when using commercially available teeth whitening products. Turmeric can either be used as a paste or the form of a herbal tea. However, it should be used in moderation as it can have negative effects such as gum irritation if used more than what is required.
How to use turmeric for whitening your teeth?
There are many ways of using turmeric for whitening your teeth. You can simply create a paste of turmeric and apply it to your teeth with your finger and rinse off. Or you can use the paste as a toothpaste and brush your teeth with it. You can also mix turmeric powder with baking soda or coconut oil to create a paste which can either be applied by using a finger or a toothbrush.
How to make turmeric tooth whitening paste?
Take a tablespoon of turmeric powder and mix a small amount of water to make a thick paste. Alternatively, you can also crush raw turmeric rhizomes using pestle and mortar to make a paste. Apply the paste to your teeth using a finger or a toothbrush and let it remain for 3 to 4 minutes. Ensure that the paste covers all of the surfaces of your teeth. Rinse your mouth thoroughly with water. Repeat the process at least 2 to 3 times every week. You will see positive results within a few weeks.
Chewing raw turmeric
Raw turmeric is traditionally used for teeth whitening in India. Take a small piece of raw turmeric and chew it in your mouth. Move the turmeric around so that all the teeth come into contact with it. Chew for a few minutes and then spit it off. Rinse with fresh water. Do not swallow as it has a strong taste.
Turmeric, baking soda and coconut oil paste
Mix 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder with a pinch of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to make a paste. Apply the paste to your teeth and let it stay for a few minutes. You can also use it like a toothpaste and brush your teeth with it. Rinse thoroughly with water afterwards. Both baking soda and coconut oil have teeth whitening properties. Turmeric makes them even more effective.
Disadvantages of using turmeric for whitening your teeth
Turmeric doesn’t have any side effects. However, there are some disadvantages associated with turmeric as a tooth whitener. Some of the disadvantages you may experience include:
No instant results: Turmeric doesn’t provide instant results unlike certain other teeth whitening procedures. You may have to use it for several weeks before you start seeing positive results.
It’s a messy affair: Turmeric stains anything that comes into contact with it. If you use a toothbrush for applying the paste, you can be 100% certain that it will be stained. You should also be careful to avoid your clothes coming into contact with turmeric paste.
Irritation and inflammation of the gums: Turmeric has abrasive properties. If it is used excessively, it can cause irritation and inflammation of the gums. Therefore, you should never use turmeric paste on your teeth more than 2-3 times a week. If it is used properly, it will not cause irritation or inflammation of the gums.