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We Asked A Doc: Does Brushing Your Teeth With Turmeric Really Whiten Them?

April 19, 2016 by Lisa Fogarty
shefinds | beauty

We all want whiter teeth. But many of us are unwilling to use products laden with chemicals in order to achieve a perfect Hollywood smile. Turmeric, best known as one of the bitter and peppery ingredients used to make curry, is gaining quite the reputation as a healthy and natural alternative to carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide, the most common ingredients in big, brand brand teeth whitening products. But is there any truth to the belief that turmeric can brighten your smile–without negative health effects?

“Finding an ideal toothpaste is a very hot topic,” says Dr. Matthew Nejad, a biomimetic and cosmetic dentist based out of Beverly Hills, California. “Everyone wants to get whiter teeth using safe and organic products instead of heavily processed ingredients and chemicals. Anytime I am evaluating a product there are two important aspects: 1) personal experience and 2) standardized laboratory testing. I like to try everything myself to see how it feels, but additional laboratory testing is always necessary to compare new products/methods to currently available dentrifices.”

When it comes to turmeric, Nejad says his experience has been that it is not particularly more effective than alternatives like clay-based products. And there’s another reason why he advises against adding it to your daily teeth cleaning regimen.

“Turmeric may be too abrasive–but this would need to be tested,” he says. “The turmeric and coconut oil combination is extremely messy and it can take significant time to clean the yellow tint left on the teeth after use. There are rumors of this technique having been a hoax, while others are convinced it is extremely effective. There is no known property of turmeric aside from its potential abrasiveness which would impart a whitening aspect. Other whitening products which contain peroxides or clay have mechanisms to lift and remove stains without excessive abrasiveness, but no such mechanism is believed to occur with turmeric.”

If you’re still searching for a natural, DIY teeth whitening solution–one that isn’t made with turmeric, given Nejad’s warning–many folks swear by a simple combo of lemon juice and baking soda.

For more beauty tips and news, check out should you use hot or cold water to brush your teeth and the one thing you should not do when brushing your teeth.

Follow me at @lisacfogarty on Twitter.

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