Why turmeric teeth whitening? The Internet is full of tips and ideas for ways to clean or whiten your teeth at home, using a variety of common ingredients, from strawberries, to coconut oil, and even cacao (the ingredient used to make chocolate). As dentists, we hear lots of questions about at-home “Dental DIY” teeth whitening methods from our patients. We’re always happy to discuss the science, mechanics, and biology behind the theories, as well as the potential risks and benefits for oral and whole-body health.
Great advice often comes from a combination of science and experience, so we decided try some of these trending tips out for ourselves, and share those results with you. We started with a popular DIY Turmeric teeth whitening method.
Turmeric Teeth Whitening? You’re Kidding, Right?
Turmeric is a root that has long been used as a cooking spice, but has also been found to have some medicinal properties, including digestive/intestinal, anti-inflammatory, and has even been said to help prevent certain types of cancers. It also happens to be bright yellow. We recruited blogger and social media contributor Jessica French to review and test a “Turmeric Toothpaste” recipe, and share her experience with you, all on video.
Here’s the Breakdown About Turmeric Toothpaste.
Turmeric has astringent properties and is also abrasive. It is most so in its natural root form, but is most widely available dried as a powder, so that’s what we used. The recipe: 2 parts turmeric powder to 1 part coconut oil and 1 part baking soda. Mix together to form a paste, and keep in a cool place (coconut oil is liquid at around 74-76 degrees). The Method: Put a generous amount on the toothbrush and brush as normal for 2 minutes. Rinse very well with water.
Does Turmeric Toothpaste Actually Work to Whiten Teeth?
Well, sort of. We found that it works about as well as using regular baking soda, which also has abrasive properties. Brushing occasionally with baking soda can put a nice polish on your teeth and make them appear whiter for a time. We found that using Turmeric has basically the same effect, with a few observations by our video blogger:
The Taste: Jessica, our blogger, thought this recipe tasted pretty awful. Not unbearable, but not the usual pleasant and minty experience most of us are used to.
The Mess: Turmeric is bright yellow and will stain almost anything that it comes into contact with, especially skin and clothing. The “toothpaste” turns to a liquid in your mouth, so it helps to be prepared for this experience. Turmeric toothpaste will immediately stain your toothbrush, so you may want to take this into consideration as well. It also turns your teeth yellow while brushing and requires a great deal of water to rinse your mouth clear.
The Time Commitment: Forget about the regular 2-minute routine. The rinsing, clean-up, and maybe even a change of clothes or the need to scrub the yellow from your face will definitely add time to your toothbrushing routine. On the plus side, you may get a good arm workout from scrubbing your sink clean twice a day.
Selecting a Toothpaste: If your desire is to find a toothpaste that is considered “natural” or fluoride free, there are an increasing number of options available without having to make your own. Check out this guide by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) for some ideas.
Warning: Using an abrasive to give your teeth a fresh polish can be OK to do occasionally. We don’t recommend using something as abrasive as Turmeric or Baking Soda twice a day. That’s because your gum tissue is soft and sensitive, and can become irritated and inflamed, which could even cause or exacerbate gum disease.
If you’re concerned about stains or other issues related to teeth whitening, there are a variety of options and methods available, from in-office laser whitening treatments to at-home and over the counter options. We recommend discussing these options with your dentist to review the potential risks and benefits and ensure your mouth is in good health to use them.
As always, the best possible way to keep your smile as bright and white as possible is to visit your dentist for your regular checkup and cleaning (click here to schedule yours now), and to follow a good at-home oral hygiene routine of brushing for 2 minutes, twice per day, and flossing each day, and avoiding food and drink that can cause staining of your teeth.
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Is this safe to use with braces?
Will it cause gingivitis in the long run and how frequently do I do it?
I have been using tumeric for the past year and it really works. However I either use it alone or dip my wet toothpaste in it then top with a dab of my natural toothpaste. I have been doing it so long now I don’t even care about brush staining, I use it with my oral b heads and I don’t mind the color. As well this saved me since when I first started I had mild gum issues and my dentist kept trying to upsell treatments but one month of this and my next dental visit i totally surprised them and my gums were back to normal no swelling or signs of bleeding… my best friend got me to try activated charcoal but it didn’t work for me like this, not for the gums too…
It may take more than one brushing to see dramatic results. I’m a big coffee drinker, so it took a while before my teeth looked noticeably whiter using the turmeric. As far as the towel goes, I once did a natural fiber dying activity and dyed a baby T-shirt crayola orange using turmeric. The color came out bright and stays in pretty good. Not sure how color fast it would be mixed in with your other clothes in the washing machine, but you could dye one hand towel with turmeric and make it your designated tooth brushing towel.
Great! Thanks for this useful info x
You should brush your teeth up and down. Not side to side! I will try it though!
Hi please can i use hydrogen peroxide because i don’t have coconut oil
Hi Regina, We recommend you stick with the recipe in the article.
Hi! I’m thinking of using turmeric paste in teeth whitening as a thesis topic. Do you have scientific studies to back the effectiveness of this method?
I used turmeric and it made my teeth turn yellow who do I get the stain off my teeth
Hi just wondering if there is any other oil that can be used instead of coconut oil I am allergic!
Hi I’ve been a smoker on and off with my teeth looking not so white for years. I saw the tip about coconut turmeric and bicarb on a different site a few weeks back. I have used this about 3 times a week over the last 4 weeks or so – I would say that I have seen a DEFINITE improvement over that time – better than other ‘whiteners’ – even the expensive ones that I used every day over longer periods.
There are a couple of things that I’d like to comment on: 1. If you keep your mouth pretty much closed while brushing you shouldn’t get turmeric stains on your face. 2. If you swish around your mouth with just coconut oil for a couple of minutes after using the turmeric mixture that will remove the yellow turmeric that is left. And 3. DON’T spit the turmeric mix or coconut oil down your sink – spit directly into a bin as it can re-solidify and block your sink.
Thanks for sharing the tip on your site. I think it’s a really good toothpaste and have been really pleased with the results – I hope others will try it out for themselves. Also in reply to one of the other posts – the mixture whitens crowns as well as your natural teeth.
Can I use this or baking soda for my Dental Crowns? Can you please tell me how to whiten the Dental Crowns
Yes it can
I , on my own, just started using straight tumeric on my teeth.I new it had anti- inflamitory properties, and since I have had issues with my gums, I thought that I would give it a try. Not pleasant tasting, but very tolerable! It does not feel at all abrasive to me, in my mouth.My mouth feels very clean and healthy and when I get up in the morning my mouth still feels clean and healthy. Nice pink gums and seems to have healed any sore gums that I have had. My teeth are whiter. And the yellow that gets on your skin, wipes right off!This is a very good toothpaste- powder. It even works with a little brand toothpaste, and tummeric to top it off. One way or the other, simply roll your toothbrush over the tumeric. A damp toothbrush, or one with a little paste on it! Simple!
Hey I have a few concerns. First will it make your teeth weaker and weaken the enamel? And is it safe to use it once a day? Also does it perhaps strengthen the enamel?
Hi. What is your basis that turmeric has abrasive properties? We’ll be happy to know and read about it please Thank you.
One of my front teeth is an implant. Will the tumeric stain it?
Similar to other foods that stain, it shouldn’t be a problem with your tooth.
Hi can I know do we have to keep brushing for that 2 mins or just leave it for 2 mins? And how many per day/weeks do we have to do this?
Hi Jess. Keep brushing for 2 minutes just like Jessica did in the video. You don’t want to do it too often as it is quite abrasive and could irritate your gums.
hello, can i use this remedy with braces on? will it stain them?
Ronald, please check with your orthodontist first.
I am very interested in trying the turmeric recipe for teeth whitening, but have a couple of concerns. 1. My gums have receded in places. Will the recipe be painful because of that? 2. I have an old (20 yrs or more) white filling on the front of one of my upper front teeth. It actually looks like it wearing off. Should I worry about staining in that area?
The turmeric mix could irritate your gums. If you’re concerned about your filling, we’d recommend checking with your dentist before using.
I’m getting my braces off on the 8th of August and I was wondering if there is a teeth bleaching process afterwards or if it’s just the removal of my braces. I’m worried about staining and I’d like to know if this would help if there was a color difference. Thanks!
Hi Tierra, Thanks for the question. We recommend you ask about Zoom! Teeth Whitening treatment, but be sure to ask your orthodontist’s opinion on the subject at your visit on the 8th.
I’m out of pure turmeric . can I use garam masala?
Hi Desi, We recommend following the recipe in the article.
Garam masala & turmeric are not the same. Please use only turmeric powder.
I’ll skip the dentist bill and use turmeric. Works really well.
Hi everyone! I have used turmeric and coconut oil (just those 2 ingredients) for a week on my teeth and noticed and incredible difference in whitening, the health of my gums and my breath. TBH. There’s no need to be dramatic about cleaning your sink after each brush. As for it staining your toothbrush, it’s also no big deal, and your DON’T have to replace it. I continued to use mine and not even 2 weeks later the stains from the turmeric were gone. The toothbrush isn’t contaminated… you are using to clean your mouth!!!
As for rinsing your mouth after brushing, its the coconut oil that leaves the residue, but, you don’t HAVE to rinse it 100% clean either. Coconut oil pulling’ it’s the same concept as mouth wash but WAY BETTER for your mouth! look it up on YouTube 🙂
I have used coconut pulling/ mouth wash after I have scolded my mouth with too hot of a liquid & canker sores.
The Turmeric, coconut toothpaste is also great for women who are pregnant and have sensitive gums .
I use a paper towel to wipe my face after each brush bc the Turmeric WILL stain your towels when you go to wipe clean. … But… lol! I’ve never had any issue with getting it on my clothes (even with out this recipe I don’t get toothpaste on my clothes.) I’m sure there are recipes for getting the stain out of clothes & towels if it does happen.
Best of luck!
I agree and it didn’t awesome job on my first try.. By the way there is recipes that call for added peppermint oil to help with taste as well …have fun.. keep smiling!
I meant “DID” an awesome job
Can this recipe be used on veneers?
Hi Bobby, that’s a great question. We’d strongly suggest discussing with your dentist before trying this out to make sure that the veneers are in good condition. Turmeric is highly pigmented, and while veneers are generally less porous and can typically pretty resistant to stains, it’s very possible to see some staining or discoloration where the veneer meets the tooth, particularly on veneers that are 5 years old or older. Cheers!
It works, and immediately!!
I have used this method of teeth whitening before and it works instantly. I now share this technique on my beauty and health blog
What’s the name of your blog?
This mixture does work, but I suggest to add some peppermint oil to counter the less-than-agreeable taste. One other bit of advice: the video production would be served if Jessica were to pronounce the word “turmeric” correctly. Note the letter “r” in the first syllable. When a narrator speaks of reading and/or research into a topic, but mispronounces the name of the topic, doubt could be cast in the viewer’s mind.
Robert…you are the one who is misinformed, The word turmeric is pronounced without the ‘r’, It is pronounced ‘tumeric’! That fact has been discussed many times on the internet and elsewhere for a long time. You obviously missed it.
I made this paste and used baking powder instead of baking soda. Are those the same thing? Because my gums and lips were literally on fire when the paste touched them. I had to rinse it off imediately. It formed a red paste and left my lips cracked. They still hurt. It felt like my gums are corroding soon as the paste touched them. Does it usually form a red paste?
Hi Sanodia, Yikes! The recipe our blogger used called for Baking Soda. Although they perform similar functions when it comes to the kitchen, baking soda is not the same thing as baking powder. The paste was orange because of the turmeric powder, and our blogger didn’t report any burning or sensitivity during use. Please remember that our blogs and videos do not replace the care and advice of a medical or dental professional, and shouldn’t be used to diagnose or treat any issue or condition. Please be safe and contact your regular physician or dentist to address any issues or concerns you may have. Take good care.
Baking powder is the same as baking soda with an added acid. That’s probably why you felt burning sensation.
Hi, I just started using Turmeric as a trial and error base and wanted to try a new experience. I eat quite a bit of curry lol, so this DIY stuff with Turmeric has interested me especially, because it suppose to help with sensitivity if used as a mouthwash in about a week. This week has been using it as a brushing agent and the above article has a lot of great info, because I did experience the same. The staining….. yeah I do recommend having a extra toothbrush on hand. Another thing that caught my attention about Turmeric was I have read a lot was that it kills bad breath bacteria and i’m already self conscious about my mouth and always want to have fresh breath. This morning I did not have bad breath. So I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing with the natural bacteria in your mouth. After this week is up I won’t use it as much, because baking soda and peroxide have always been my main source for teeth whitening as a cheap fix I also use sensodyne toothpaste, because it has been the only thing that helps with my unexplained sensitivity for the most part. Hoping that just using turmeric as a mouthwash will help including my regular brushing with sensodyne. Just FYI I use baking soda and peroxide once a week. It used to be just a regular routine along with my toothpaste regimen, but I had to cut back, because up around my gums my enamel started to wear down. This is something that happens over time and not from just using for a little bit of time either.
Hi Jennifer, thanks for your feedback about your experiences with alternatives to more traditional toothpastes. You bring up a very important point – the health of your enamel and gum tissue is of utmost importance. Harsh abrasives, chemicals, and techniques can do more harm than good, despite our best intentions. One essential way to keep your smile as healthy as possible is to find a dentist that you feel comfortable with, who will listen to your interests and goals, and help you weigh the potential pros and cons about home care regimens, methods and products.
So do you have to replace this with your regular toothpaste? Does it provide enough hygiene for the mouth or do you still have to use a normal toothpaste for complete cleanup? Because i understand this is only for whitening the teeth and not for oral hygiene purposes…
Hi Marlie, That’s a great question. We would not suggest using this as a replacement for regular toothpaste, although our research online shows that some people have done so. What’s most important is that folks find a toothpaste they like to use, and that is gentle on delicate gum tissue and isn’t too abrasive. Some of our patients ask about finding a more “natural” toothpaste that uses plant-based ingredients, is free of any artificial colors or flavors, or is fluoride-free. We don’t have a specific recommendation there, but you may find some helpful information on the Environmental Working Group site, which also has a category for whitening: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/browse/toothpaste/ And, of course, the best way to make sure your teeth and gums are as healthy as possible is to keep up regular dental office visits. Thank you!
The combination I found that works is Tumeric, Peppermint oil and Coconut oil. 1 tsp each of tumeric and coconut oil and 1/2 tsp of 100% pure peppermint oil. Mix together to make a paste. After brushing your teeth, leave on for 5 minutes and then rinse thoroughly. Most see a difference in about 3 days.
I cannot begin to tell you how refreshing it is to know that your company is even open to exploring and discussing natural dental care treatments. Most Doctors turn their nose up and give a resounding “NO” to anything outside of their knowledge and practice, especially if it takes away from money they could otherwise collect for services.
Wishing you had a location near me.
Hi Kimberly, thank you so much for your feedback. It’s important for us to know what’s out there and what folks are looking for when it comes to dental care – including DIY options. The home dental care routine is just as important as regular check-ups, so we want to make sure we can have an honest conversation with our patients. Our next DIY method is charcoal, with a longer trial time, coming soon! Thanks again for your comments, and if you ever decide to visit the Chicago area, please let us know! Cheers.
can you use this on dentures
That’s a great question. We do not recommend using turmeric with dentures. The material used to make dentures is more porous and is likely to stain. We recommend regular brushing and using denture cleaner. If you are concerned about staining or discoloration of dentures, we suggest visiting your dentist to review what may be causing it, and identify potential solutions that are safe for use with dentures.
It takes about a week to notice a difference. It also fights periodontal disease. I’ve been using it for years with no problems or enamel damage, just remember to use a soft brush and brush your tongue too. A drop of peppermint oil helps the taste.
How do you use it for periodontal disease ? I am very interested in this.
Hi Nora, we here at 1st Family Dental want to check in to confirm that our site and the content here should not be used to replace the advice of a licensed dental professional, or in an attempt to diagnose, treat or cure any illness or disease. Diagnosing and treating periodontal disease should be done under the supervision of a licensed dental health professional. With that said, a great oral hygiene routine that includes brushing twice a day and flossing regularly, combined with regular dental check-up visits are the best possible way to prevent gum disease. Here is more information about periodontal disease from our website. Take good care! http://ffdblog.wpengine.com/dental-services/gum-disease/
A very good Diy for the teeth with turmeric thanks dear
I tried just tumeric and coconut oil and I can’t be 100% positive but I’m pretty sure I see a difference
Hi Tori, thanks for your feedback. Maybe it takes a few more tries to see more of a difference. Please keep us posted if you decide to try more!
I used a slight different recipe, no baking soda + peppermint essential oil taste is much better- still a bit messy but does seem to be working. I was using baking soda only before. My research says baking soda less abrasive than commercial toothpaste. Gums in much better shape since dropping commercial stuff.
Hi Ken, that’s great to hear. We’ve had a couple of comments about peppermint oil, as well. Our take on toothpaste is: Yes, please! As long as it’s keeping your teeth and gums healthy, and as long as you’re using it to brush twice a day (and flossing of course), and as long as you like it, it works for us. We often recommend the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin Deep directly for folks looking to avoid certain ingredients and aren’t quite ready to go full DIY. Thanks for your comments. Cheers!
Hello, do you think this may stain dental fillings? I want to try it but I am not sure about this.
Hi there, that’s a great question. Without knowing your case in particular, staining is possible. Anything with a lot of pigment, contacting anything that is porous, has the potential to cause staining over the long term. This is why we also suggest avoiding prolonged exposure to other pigmented liquids like soda or red wine. The condition of your fillings and any other dental work may also impact your results. It’s always a good idea to discuss with your dentist during a regular checkup.
A little disappointed in how this has been done to be honest, If you found it is ‘about as good as baking soda’ where is your research comparing them? one vblogger on your website isn’t nearly enough experiment to make that assumption. On youtube there are tons of people saying the exact opposite. I think more factual information and less gimmicky opinions would have been much more useful and is what I came on here for. This is a medical website. Change of clothes meaning brushing your teeth suddenly takes all of this extra time is just ludicrous.
Hi Anthony, thank you very much for your candid feedback. We’ll take your words into careful consideration before we launch our next DIY project. Your suggestions for the next one are most welcome! Cheers – Jessica
Personally, I laughed out loud! Thanks for injecting a little sense of humor into an otherwise slobbery topic!
Thanks, Jhiga! Our next DIY trial is activated charcoal, with a longer trial period. We’ll hear the results from our blogger and post the video soon. Take good care!
I’ve been doing the coconut oil, tumeric and peppermint oil for about a week. My teeth were pretty white before starting but I think I see an improvement. I would cut the recipe in half next time as doing the full recipe lasts over a week and lost the peppermint boost. I keep a bottle of bathroom spray under my sink to combat the stains left. I also bought cheap toothbrushes because you go thru them pretty fast both due to staining and the tumeric seems to turn them to “mush””.
Thanks for your feedback, Penny! It’s great to hear other people’s experiences with this DIY method. Take care!
Hi Penny, thanks for your feedback – and the cleaning tips! We’ve heard about the peppermint – something to try for the next time. Take care.
Just whitened with Turmeric it absolutely does work. My teeth have never been so white.
That’s great news, Missy. Thanks for sharing!
Did you use the coconut oil and baking soda as well? I heard that you can substitute or add peppermint oil for the baking soda.
Hi Gertie, I didn’t try adding coconut oil or peppermint essential oil, although I definitely saw those among the many variations on the recipes online. Did you try any of them? Thanks for your comment!
Hi Missy, that’s great to hear! Thanks for your feedback.
Me too, just coconut oil and tumeric and my teeth are the whitest they have ever been. And I just do it once per week, results were instantaneous.
It works, have regularly used this technique, a lot safer than fluoride for the body, look at the negative effects that has on the body, pity they didn’t teach us that when we were children.
I have read that the least abrasive toothpaste is 7 times as abrasive as baking soda. Have you compared them with different results?
Hi Ann, We’re not familiar with the figure you mention here. You are welcome to share the source of that information and we’d be happy to look into it. Take care.
I used plain Turmeric powder and saw immediate whitening results. It does work.
Hi, Thanks for sharing this great post and your blog is very informative for me. We are also same in this field. I have a teeth whitening treatment providers site and welcome you to visit our website. Thanks again for kind information.
Turmeric and coconut oil would be great over sautéed onions ANC rice.
Hi, Joe! Thanks for the recipe tip. After this experience, I wholeheartedly agree! 🙂