Does Turmeric Whiten Teeth?


Turmeric has become an incredibly popular spice and supplement in recent years. Known for its vibrant yellow-orange color, turmeric contains a compound called curcumin that has been associated with a variety of potential health benefits. Some claim that turmeric can also naturally whiten and brighten your smile. But is there any truth to this? Let's take a closer look at what the research says.

Does Turmeric Whiten Teeth

How Does Turmeric Work to Whiten Teeth?

Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which gives the spice its distinctive color. Curcumin is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. Some research indicates that curcumin may have teeth whitening abilities:

  • Removes surface stains - The antioxidants in turmeric can help remove stains on the surface of your teeth caused by foods, drinks, and smoking. Turmeric helps scrub away buildup without abrasives.
  • Fights plaque and bacteria - Curcumin has antimicrobial properties that may help inhibit the growth of plaque and bacteria in your mouth. This can prevent tartar buildup and tooth decay.
  • Natural bleaching agent - Compounds in turmeric are thought to naturally bleach teeth and make the surface whiter. More research is needed, but early studies show promise.
  • Prevents future stains - The anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin can help prevent gingivitis and periodontal disease, conditions that can lead to tooth discoloration.

So in theory, turmeric offers a natural way to gently lift surface stains from teeth while protecting them from future discoloration. But what does the research say about how effective it really is?

What Does the Research Say About Turmeric Teeth Whitening?

There is some emerging research showing turmeric's potential for teeth whitening, but the overall evidence is limited:

  • Test tube studies have found that curcumin can effectively remove stains from teeth. However, human studies are needed.
  • Early animal studies reveal that curcumin may inhibit the formation of plaque. This could help prevent tartar buildup and staining.
  • A study in 2011 found that a curcumin toothpaste was as effective at tooth whitening as conventional whitening toothpaste with silica.
  • A small study in 2014 concluded that a curcumin gel was slightly more effective at tooth whitening compared to a standard peroxide gel over 6 weeks.
  • Overall, very few clinical studies have examined turmeric's effects on human teeth. More rigorous, large-scale human trials are needed.

While these preliminary findings are promising, they are far from conclusive. Much more research is required to determine turmeric's true effectiveness for natural teeth whitening.

How to Use Turmeric for Whiter Teeth

There are a few different ways you can try using turmeric to potentially whiten your teeth. Keep in mind the evidence is limited, so temper your expectations. Here are some popular options:

1. Turmeric Toothpaste

Look for toothpaste that contains turmeric as an ingredient. The turmeric may help lift surface stains from your teeth with regular brushing. Be sure to choose toothpaste with fluoride for cavity protection. Brush at least twice daily.

2. Turmeric Powder

You can make a turmeric teeth whitening paste by mixing turmeric powder with lemon juice or coconut oil. Apply to teeth and let sit for 2-3 minutes before rinsing. Use a soft-bristled brush to avoid damaging enamel. Repeat 1-2 times per week.

3. Turmeric Water

Boil turmeric powder in water to make an antioxidant-rich tea. Allow to cool, then swish the liquid around your teeth for a few minutes before spitting. The theory is that the curcumin will leach into dental crevices and help whiten teeth.

4. Professional Whitening Products

Some dentist offices now offer professional whitening gels, rinses, and toothpastes that contain turmeric. But evidence for their efficacy is anecdotal. Talk to your dentist before trying any professional turmeric whitening products.

Regardless of what method you choose, it's important to have realistic expectations. Turmeric is unlikely to dramatically whiten or bleach teeth. At best, it may gently lift surface stains and help prevent future discoloration. Results vary by individual.

Potential Benefits of Turmeric for Oral Health

In addition to possible whitening effects, turmeric may offer other benefits for your dental and overall health:

  • Contains antioxidants that neutralize damaging free radicals
  • Has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce gum inflammation
  • May inhibit the growth of cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth
  • Could protect against gingivitis, periodontal disease, and oral cancers
  • May freshen breath by reducing bacteria and plaque buildup
  • Natural alternative to harsh abrasives and bleaches

Again, more research is needed to confirm many of turmeric's proposed health benefits. But adding turmeric to your oral hygiene regimen certainly won't hurt, as long as you don't go overboard.

Is Turmeric Safe For Teeth?

Turmeric is generally considered very safe for your health and your smile. However, there are a few potential downsides to be aware of:

  • Can temporarily stain teeth yellow - Turmeric will tint your teeth yellow but this can be brushed off. Rinse your mouth after using it.
  • May irritate gums and cheeks - The oils in turmeric can cause mild irritation in the mouth. Discontinue use if any discomfort.
  • Avoid getting on dental work - Turmeric could potentially stain dental fillings, crowns or dentures if left to sit. Use a soft brush.
  • Not a substitute for brushing/flossing - Turmeric does not replace your daily oral hygiene routine. Keep brushing 2-3 times a day and flossing once daily.
  • May interact with medications - Consult your dentist before trying turmeric if you take any medications or have health conditions.

When used occasionally as directed, turmeric is considered safe for healthy teeth and gums. But overdoing it could backfire and cause tooth sensitivity or staining.

Professional Teeth Whitening Options

While turmeric may potentially lighten your teeth, for dramatic whitening results, professional dental treatments are much more effective. Here are some industry-standard options:

In-Office Whitening

Dentists use a high concentration peroxide-based gel along with light or laser energy to swiftly whiten teeth by several shades in one visit. Provides the fastest results, but can be pricey.

Custom Whitening Trays

Your dentist makes customized trays that fit your teeth, then gives you a peroxide gel to place in the trays at home. Typically worn for 1-2 hours a day for 1-2 weeks until desired whitening is reached. More affordable than in-office treatments.

Over-the-Counter Whitening Strips

Whitening strips with low concentrations of peroxide can gradually whiten teeth over the course of several weeks with daily use. Convenient and inexpensive, but results are less dramatic compared to professional treatments.

For significant, lasting whitening, professional options such as in-office whitening and custom trays provide the best results. Always talk to your dentist before undergoing any type of teeth whitening treatment.

Turmeric Teeth Whitening

There is preliminary evidence that turmeric may whiten teeth, but results will not be as dramatic as professional whitening. Turmeric is unlikely to drastically bleach or alter your tooth color.

However, turmeric does appear to be relatively safe for teeth and may provide other oral health benefits. Adding turmeric to your dental regimen 1-2 times per week may help lift surface stains and gently brighten your smile over time.

But don't abandon your regular brushing, flossing, and dental cleanings in favor of turmeric alone. Turmeric should not take the place of professional dental treatments if you desire significant whitening.

Always speak with your dentist before trying turmeric toothpaste, powders, or other turmeric-based whitening remedies. And take care not to overdo it, as excessive turmeric could potentially cause gum irritation or staining.

Moderation and discretion are key if you want to experiment with turmeric for natural teeth whitening. Look at turmeric as more of a supplemental dental aid rather than a miracle teeth whitener. Set realistic expectations, and couple it with traditional preventive dental care for your best smile.

Frequently Asked Questions About Turmeric For Teeth Whitening

Is turmeric safe for enamel and tooth crowns?

Yes, when used properly turmeric is safe for enamel. The abrasiveness level of turmeric is very low and unlikely to damage enamel. Take care to thoroughly rinse turmeric from teeth and dental work to prevent temporary staining. Avoid aggressively scrubbing teeth with turmeric.

How often can I use turmeric on my teeth?

Limit turmeric teeth treatments to 1-2 times per week at most. Using turmeric too frequently could potentially cause sensitivity or staining. It's best to use turmeric occasionally as a supplemental whitening agent rather than every day.

How long until I see results using turmeric?

Don't expect overnight results. It can take several weeks of periodic turmeric use to notice even subtle whitening effects. And turmeric will not dramatically bleach or alter tooth color. Have realistic expectations when using natural turmeric remedies.

Can I use turmeric if I have dental braces?

Yes, but take care to thoroughly rinse turmeric from around your brackets. Turmeric could temporarily stain orthodontic adhesive if left to sit. Avoid aggressively brushing around braces when using turmeric.

Will turmeric whiten crowns, caps, or veneers?

Turmeric cannot alter the intrinsic color of dental crowns, caps, veneers or other dental restorations. It may help remove some exterior stains but don't expect dramatic whitening. Avoid getting turmeric inside restorations.

Can I use turmeric if I'm pregnant?

Discuss with your OB-GYN before using turmeric supplements or extensive turmeric remedies while pregnant. Small amounts of turmeric for teeth are likely fine but get medical guidance first.

Will turmeric whiten natural teeth and dental work equally?

Turmeric is more likely to whiten natural teeth compared to crowns, fillings, etc. The effects will be most noticeable on your natural tooth surfaces. Don't expect dental work to lighten or bleach.

Is turmeric a substitute for professional whitening treatments?

No. Turmeric will not produce dramatic bleaching effects like professional in-office or custom tray whitening treatments. Turmeric is very mild and should be viewed as a supplemental option only for minor surface stain removal.

Can turmeric worsen tooth sensitivity?

In rare cases, excessive use of turmeric may temporarily increase tooth sensitivity in sensitive individuals. Discontinue use if any discomfort. Practice good dental hygiene and speak with your dentist about options to reduce existing sensitivity.

What's the best way to use turmeric for whitening?

For minimal mess, try a turmeric-based toothpaste. For light surface stain removal, mix turmeric powder into a paste with water or lemon juice and gently brush onto teeth 1-2 times per week, followed by thorough rinsing.

Should I speak with my dentist before using turmeric?

It's always a good idea to discuss any new dental products, regimens or remedies with your dentist, particularly if you have existing dental conditions. They can advise you if turmeric is appropriate for your individual oral health needs.


With its vibrant yellow color, turmeric contains curcumin that some claim can naturally whiten teeth. The antioxidants may help remove surface stains, while curcumin’s antimicrobial effects may inhibit plaque and bacteria. A few preliminary studies show turmeric’s potential to lift extrinsic stains, but more rigorous clinical trials are needed to confirm effectiveness. Turmeric is considered safe for teeth used occasionally; it will not dramatically bleach but may provide minor brightening over time. Options like turmeric toothpaste, powders, and rinses can be tried, but avoid overuse which may cause sensitivity. For fastest whitening, professional treatments like in-office whitening and custom trays work best. While the research is still emerging, turmeric may offer supplemental teeth whitening and other oral health benefits when incorporated into a daily dental regimen a couple times per week. However, traditional preventive dental care remains essential for a bright, healthy smile. Patients should discuss turmeric with their dentist before starting use to understand realistic expectations and appropriateness for individual oral health needs. More human research on turmeric for whitening is warranted.

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