Like many spices turmeric has some therapeutic properties that make it a popular alternative health treatment. For example, according to the Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine, turmeric can be used as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and analgesic. In oral terms, this spice traditionally helps with dental pain and gum problems; it is also a popular ingredient in homemade toothpastes that whiten your teeth. What are the pros and cons of brushing with turmeric?
The Advantages of Using Turmeric as a Tooth Whitener
While it may seem counterintuitive to whiten your teeth with a powder that makes mustard yellow stains, some people do find that turmeric has a whitening effect.
For example, if you make up a paste of turmeric and water or oil and brush your teeth with the paste, you may notice a difference in the whiteness of your teeth. This may make more of a difference if you also add some baking soda to the mix. This is most likely due to the abrasive nature of the spice which helps remove surface plaque and small stains leaving your teeth feeling cleaner and looking brighter and less yellow.
Plus, as a natural product, you may feel better not using chemicals to whiten your teeth. The health benefits of the spice may also help keep your teeth and gums healthy. It's also a lot cheaper to use turmeric as a whitener than to buy home whitening kits or to pay for professional whitening treatments.
The Disadvantages of Using Turmeric to Whiten Teeth
Although you may find that turmeric has some whitening properties, brushing with the spice is not likely to massively improve your teeth's whiteness. Turmeric may be able to get rid of some of your plaque but may not do much more than that. While you may be happy with a small improvement, you do have to consider other issues before you use turmeric as a whitener.
For example, brushing with a turmeric paste may come with the following downsides:
- Enamel Damage: Turmeric's abrasive qualities may help whiten your teeth but the spice may also damage your tooth enamel if you use it too often. If you add abrasive baking soda to your paste, this may become more of a problem. To avoid this, you can restrict a turmeric brush to a once-a-week clean rather than a daily habit; however, a less regular clean may not give you the effects you're looking for.
- Staining: Brushing with turmeric can be a messy process. Your toothbrush will turn yellow and the spice will stain your clothes or skin if you are a bit over enthusiastic. You may find it tricky to get all the yellow colouring off your teeth and gums, especially if you brush with the spice regularly. Also, this may not be a great option if you have veneers or crowns as you have no idea if they will pick up irreversible turmeric stains until you brush with the spice.
- Time Commitment: You need to spend a lot more time brushing your teeth with turmeric than with regular brushing. While applying the paste may only take a couple of minutes, you then need to brush your teeth again with regular toothpaste to remove the yellow colour that turmeric leaves in your mouth.
If you're looking to whiten your smile, turmeric may help give you a deeper clean than regular toothpaste. However, you may find that having your teeth cleaned and polished by your dentist gives you better results. Your dentist may also be able to recommend other ways to whiten your teeth more effectively.