Turmeric as a home remedy

Turmeric is a globally popular spice with origins and roots in Asia. It’s been used as a healing and herbal remedy for thousands of years.

Today, turmeric is a popular home treatment for various minor health problems. It’s even found a place in home dental care for the purposes of teeth whitening.

Using turmeric is safe, and it works better than other tooth treatments for some people.

What can turmeric do for your teeth?

According to some dentists, public figures, and celebrities, turmeric helps whiten teeth.

Turmeric is a completely natural product, which makes it a desirable alternative to less natural, commercial teeth whiteners.

What’s more, turmeric lacks the side effects of commercial teeth whiteners. These include increased risks of:

Possible benefits you can get from using turmeric for teeth whitening are:

  • teeth whitening
  • reduced risk of gum pain and inflammation
  • reduced risk of gum disease

What does science have to say?

There are no studies yet that specifically analyze turmeric’s ability to whiten teeth. All of the current evidence is anecdotal.

Where turmeric truly stands out is in its extra oral healthcare benefits. Turmeric is a well-known anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial herb, making it useful for home dental care.

One study in 2012 showed that curcumin in turmeric can prevent gingivitis, or gum disease. It helped remove plaque, bacteria, and inflammation comparably well with traditional mouthwashes, when used properly.

A study later in 2013 found even more benefits from turmeric for oral hygiene. Results showed it can relieve dental pain and possibly even be used as periodontitis treatment. It may also help prevent various oral cancers.

Some compare turmeric’s teeth whitening effects to baking soda or activated charcoal for teeth whitening. It may have similar potential, but take more time than whitening strips, for example.

However, turmeric does provide oral healthcare benefits that other natural, or over-the-counter tooth whiteners, don’t have.

As of now, however, turmeric is not considered a solid replacement for medical cosmetic teeth whitening treatments. Nor can it be considered a replacement for general oral health care.

How do you use turmeric to whiten teeth?

Trying turmeric as a teeth whitener is simple and can be done in a few ways. It’s recommended that you use it no more than once per day.

Keep in mind: Some of these procedures may be more time-consuming than using teeth whitening strips.

Add to your tooth-brushing regimen

This one is the simplest and most affordable. Keep in mind: This treatment will turn your toothbrush bristles yellow.

Turmeric also has a taste in raw form not enjoyed by everyone. Adding a drop or two of peppermint or spearmint extract may help.

  1. Pour out a little bit of high-quality pure turmeric powder. Wet the bristles of your toothbrush and dip them into the powder. Don’t dip your toothbrush directly into your turmeric container, as that can spread bacteria.
  2. Brush your teeth like you usually would, spreading the turmeric powder on your gums and teeth. Instead of rinsing right away, let the powder sit on your teeth for at least five minutes.
  3. Next, rinse out your mouth thoroughly with water. Then, brush your teeth again with regular toothpaste, tooth powder, or other tooth-cleansing product.
  4. You may need to do some extra brushing and rinsing in case there’s still stubborn turmeric powder left over.

Make your own homemade turmeric toothpaste

To make your own turmeric toothpaste, simply mix high-quality turmeric powder with some high-quality coconut oil. Some people recommend mixing ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder with 1/8 teaspoon melted coconut oil. The coconut oil may help the turmeric cling to your teeth and gums better. Coconut oil also has its own purported oral health benefits.

You can also add ¼ teaspoon additional baking soda if desired. A drop or two of mint extract can improve flavor if desired.

Keep in mind: This method will also turn your toothbrush yellow. Just like in the method above, use regular tooth cleaning products and brushing afterward.

Purchase a toothpaste made with turmeric and curcumin

For a less time-consuming method, purchase a toothpaste with turmeric already added.

The one issue with using ready-made turmeric toothpaste is that some products may not contain much turmeric. So, you won’t get as much whitening benefit compared to applying turmeric powder directly to your teeth.

However, you’ll still get some oral health benefits. Plus, you’re a lot less likely to get a yellow-stained toothbrush from over-the-counter turmeric toothpastes.

Purchase a tooth-whitening powder that is turmeric-based

You can also try specifically-formulated tooth powders that include turmeric for tooth whitening. These products are also less likely to turn your toothbrush yellow, depending on how much turmeric they contain.

Turmeric tooth powders give about the same benefit as turmeric toothpastes. However, some may be a little more effective for tooth whitening. Since turmeric is a powder, there’s likely to be more turmeric powder in a tooth powder than in toothpaste.

Are there any side effects or risks?

There is very little risk to using turmeric for teeth whitening. Of course, make sure you’re not allergic to turmeric before using it.

It’s recommended that you avoid using turmeric powder for teeth whitening more than once per day. This applies to homemade turmeric toothpastes and pure turmeric powders.

Commercial products containing turmeric should be fine, though be sparing with powders depending on how much turmeric they contain. Turmeric contents may vary from product to product.

While there are no studies on this yet, turmeric is an astringent. This could have an impact on tooth enamel and health, though the risk is very minor.

Turmeric is not a replacement for cosmetic tooth whitening treatments. Nor should it be a replacement for dentist visits or typical oral health care.

Though not a health risk, turmeric stains things easily. When using the herb powder, be careful not to stain clothes or other items.

Wash hands and arms thoroughly after using. Regardless of washing, hands and arms may be temporarily stained.

The bottom line

Turmeric is an enduringly popular natural teeth whitener. When used properly, turmeric is a safe option.

Although evidence of its teeth-whitening properties is only anecdotal, studies do show that it brings oral health benefits that other natural remedies — and over-the-counter remedies — don’t.

Healthline and our partners may receive a portion of revenues if you make a purchase using a link above.