This Counter-Staining Spice Can Actually Be Used On Your Teeth

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Turmeric has benefits that aren’t just confined to the kitchen. This counter-staining spice can actually be used in your bathroom as well. More specifically, on your teeth. “Turmeric has been used throughout history for medicinal purposes because it helps reduce inflammation,” cosmetic dental surgeon at Eden Dental Aesthetics, Dr. Brandon Mack tells ESSENCE. “There are some studies that have shown turmeric used to assist with gingivitis or radioing the inflammation on a patient’s gums.”

Below, Dr. Mack tells us everything to know about the oral health benefits of turmeric.

What is turmeric?

According to the NIH, turmeric is a plant in the ginger family and is native to Southeast Asia (primarily in India). From treating the respiratory system to skin disorders and digestion, the spice is a common tool in Ayurveda and other traditional Indian medicinal practices. Turmeric is known to have anti-inflammatory properties which help fight infections, acne, headaches, and other ailments.

What are the oral benefits of turmeric?

Studies show turmeric can be used to treat gingivitis and manage inflammation in the gums. “There are also studies that have shown its effectiveness in plaque control in conjunction with regular brushing and flossing,” says Dr. Mack. According to WebMD, turmeric can help reduce bacteria which, as a result, prevents cavities and eases infections as well.

How do you use turmeric on your teeth? 

Before you test the benefits at home, it is important to know the best methods for using turmeric in your oral care routine. “There are dental products on the market that have turmeric in toothpaste, gels, and oral rinses,” he says. You could also make a mouthwash by boiling turmeric powder and other ingredients (like cloves and guava leaves), then gurgling after it cools. This can help treat gingivitis and periodontal disease. Mack suggests you “do your research and then talk to your dental provider about how to best use the product.”

Can you whiten your teeth with turmeric?

Rumor has it this counter-staining spice can be used to, ironically, whiten your teeth. However, “there hasn’t been any research that has shown turmeric to whiten teeth,” he says. “Most of its applications are for a patient’s gums and controlling inflammation in the oral cavity.” Although turmeric does not have any proven teeth whitening benefits, “some of the turmeric products do contain ingredients like baking soda which is known for naturally whitening teeth.”

Are there any risks to using it?

“If you are in veneer temporaries stay away from turmeric,” he says. “Due to the porous nature of veneer temporary material it picks up the color in turmeric and the temporary veneers become stained in a yellow-orange color.” Otherwise, using turmeric in your oral hygiene practices has no known risks (unless you’re allergic, of course). However, if you have a specific concern, it is best to consult your doctor before use.

Other natural teeth whitening options

Although turmeric has a range of anti-inflammatory properties, it is not the best for teeth whitening. Which is why Mack recommends products that have baking soda, calcium carbonate, or hydrated silica for a holistic alternative. “Patients can find natural or holistic products that contain these ingredients,” he says, as an addition to turmeric use.

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