Your mouth often bears the brunt of everything you consume. From sugary treats to acidic drinks, your teeth and gums are left dealing with their residue, often at the expense of your oral health. Smoking can also take a huge toll on your oral health as tobacco residue erodes your enamel and causes tooth decay. Furthermore, certain medical conditions, such as diabetes and HIV, can make you more susceptible to oral infections as they weaken your immune system.
This is not to scare you, though. There are many ways to keep your oral health regulated, even after experiencing serious conditions like gingivitis and periodontitis. Turmeric, a popular Asian spice derived from turmeric plants, has been known for its medicinal properties. Surprisingly, some of those properties can directly benefit your oral health.
What is turmeric and what makes it healthy?
Turmeric is a bold yellow-orange spice that is commonly used in Indian food. It has also been used in Eastern medicine for centuries and natively grows in Southeast Asia. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric which contributes to the herb’s many medicinal advantages. This ingredient is able to benefit your oral health because it has a low absorption rate, which means the majority of it passes through your oral cavity unchanged. It is a powerful herb and most of its properties retain their full integrity in your system. So, what can turmeric do for your oral health?
Turmeric acts as an anti-inflammatory
Even when ingested orally, turmeric decreases histamine levels and may even increase levels of cortisone produced by the adrenal glands. This combination helps reduce inflammation, which makes turmeric products, like turmeric mouthwash, a great way to combat gingivitis. Gingivitis is characterized by mild inflammation of the gums but can lead to more severe conditions if left untreated.
Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric can also relieve symptoms of periodontitis, which causes swelling of the tissues supporting the teeth. Just like gingivitis, leaving this condition untreated can lead to far worse conditions, such as loss of teeth.
Turmeric may prevent and/or control oral cancer growth
Studies have shown that turmeric is antimutagenic, which means it can fight against cancer growth. This research tested curcumin with oral cancer cells and found that the curcumin could prevent cancer cells from growing while having minimal effects on normal, healthy cells. Therefore, turmeric can aid in preventing and controlling aggressive oral cancer that is resistant to other types of treatments. Of course, it is always important to consult with your doctor for the best treatment available for your specific case.
Turmeric can relieve pain
Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties also make it ideal for providing therapeutic aid for oral submucosal fibrosis. Oral submucosal fibrosis is a disease where tissue in the mouth hardens and, in turn, hardens the muscle connecting the jaws. This makes it hard to open and close the mouth, and often result in painful burning sensations. While turmeric’s aforementioned properties can’t reform muscle composition, they can help alleviate the pain and burning patients experience when trying to open and close their mouths.