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Turmeric powder as a natural tooth whitener??

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Can this bright orange-yellow spice actually whiten teeth? It seems so strange that something that has the tendency to instantly leave a yellow stain on almost everything that it comes into contact with could possibly be one of the more effective natural tooth whiteners, but it in fact may actually be true! There are dozens of blog postings popping up lately purporting that Turmeric powder works really well as a tooth whitener, and some indication from its traditional use in Ayurveda that could support this claim as well. In India, Turmeric root has been chewed, along with Neem twigs, to cleanse the teeth and mouth, and also as a main ingredient in traditional herbalized oil pulling mouth rinse recipes. Because Turmeric contains properties that support a healthy inflammatory response in the body, as well as natural antimicrobial properties it makes sense that it could be effective in oral health uses. But to whiten teeth? Quite possibly! And not just because the powder is mildly abrasive like baking soda, as one would assume. It might actually be because Turmeric is a rich source of some of the vitamins and minerals that are so important for helping teeth to re-mineralize, such as Vitamin C, Calcium, Magnesium, and Selenium. Treating your teeth daily with the minerals they need may actually be one of the keys to a healthy, white smile! While scientific studies have yet to be performed, there seems promise in the anecdotal evidence popping up on the web regarding its oral health benefits. It also seems plausible that taking Turmeric as a supplement would help with oral health because it contains all those vitamins, minerals, and antimicrobial properties. 

There are several methods of application used for tooth whitening:

  1. Using the powder to make a paste with water: Mix 1 tsp powdered organic Turmeric Root with enough water to make a paste consistency. Dip toothbrush into it and gently brush teeth for 2-5 minutes, and then rinse thoroughly. Toothpaste can be stored covered in a cool dry place for 1 month. 
  2. Make a toothpaste using coconut oil as the base: Mix 1 tsp powdered organic Turmeric Root with ¼ tsp baking soda, and then add enough solid coconut oil to make a paste. This method has the added benefit of baking soda, as well as coconut oil which has also been touted for its oral health benefits and is being used as the base of many homemade toothpastes and tooth re-mineralizing recipes. You could also simple add Turmeric powder to a re-mineralizing toothpaste recipe to aid in tooth whitening. Brush for 2-5 minutes, and then rinse thoroughly.
  3. Chewing the whole root as is traditionally done in India: If you can find fresh (not dried) organic Turmeric Root in your local natural food store, chew 1 bite-size piece of the root slowly, using as many teeth as possible, for 2-5 minutes and the spit into trash or compost. Rinse mouth thoroughly. 
  4. Using an oil pulling mouth rinse that contains Turmeric: If you purchase an herbalized oil pulling rinse containing Turmeric, follow the manufacturer directions, typically gently swishing and pulling oil through teeth using a chewing motion for 10-20 minutes first thing in the morning before eating and drinking anything. 

One thing to know is that while Turmeric will not stain your teeth yellow, it will stain your toothbrush. But that seems like a small price to pay for a healthy white smile!

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