I Tried It: Tumeric Paste for Teeth Whitening

July 20, 2016

It’s summertime, and you’re probably getting a little bit of a bronze glow (healthily, of course, after multiple applications of broad-spectrum natural sunblock). What would make you glow even more, you ask? A pearly white smile. 

A few years ago, when the teeth whitening trend started to surge, I couldn’t help but question why someone would want teeth so unnaturally white they blinded you. Like sometimes unnecessary orthodonture, this expensive process seemed to cultivate a mentality of perfection that made people look, well, not human. Bleaching one’s teeth can cost around $650 when done professionally, and even the at-home versions are pricey ($55 per kit for Crest 3D Lux Professional Effects White Strips, and are made of hydrogen peroxide and phosphates).

A much safer, cheaper alternative is an unlikely ingredient in your kitchen spice rack: tumeric. Yes, the gorgeous yellow spice that aids in digestion and stains bowls if left unwashed for too long is a great whitening agent that won’t hurt your body or your wallet.

Turmeric has been used for centuries in India to whiten teeth naturally, and a growing body of research suggests that it’s as good for dental health as it is for your GI tract and blemish-free skin. According to a study, with its anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, turmeric is effective for treating gingivitis and plaque.

Combined with two equally simple ingredients, turmeric becomes a 2-in-1 magic paste, which keeps your teeth and gums healthy and smile looking great.

The process is easy: Just mix 2 parts tumeric powder, 1 part coconut oil, and 1 part baking soda in a small container to form a paste. Scoop a small amount (pea-sized, really though…no more) onto your toothbrush and brush like normal. *Your toothbrush and your teeth will be bright yellow, but fear not!* After 3-4 minutes, carefully spit out the paste (again, carefully otherwise your bathroom, and maybe your shirt, will be stained yellow…) into the sink and rinse well, 2-3 times with water. Then brush your teeth as normal, and rinse until the water runs clear. If any residual yellowing is on your gums or mouth, clean it off with water. I chose to do this at night only, to avoid any public displays of tumeric whitening, but if you’re very neat the morning is fine as well.


The tools of the trade–yellowed brush and all!

You’ll notice a bit of whitening at the first application, but I tried it for 5 days to see the full results:


My smile before–not so bad…


And after…












I dare say the experiment was worth it! Would you give this a try? 

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Photo: Jennifer Kurdyla

Features Editor Jennifer Kurdyla is a New York City girl with Jersey roots and a propensity for getting lost in the urban jungle. An experienced publishing professional, yoga instructor, home chef, sometimes-runner, and writer, she adopted a vegetarian lifestyle in 2008 and became vegan in 2013. She has written for The Harvard Review Online, The Rumpus, and Music & Literature and maintains a wellness-based website, Be Nourished, which features original writing and recipes. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram @jenniferkurdyla, Twitter @jenniferkurdyla, and Pinterest.


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