No one likes dealing with unsightly bruises caused by minor injuries and bumps. Some claim that applying ordinary toothpaste can help bruises heal faster. But does toothpaste really work to banish bruises more quickly? Read on to learn whether using toothpaste on bruises is safe and effective.
Bruise Treatment With Toothpaste
Bruises form when blood vessels rupture under the skin, leaking blood into the surrounding tissues. This causes pain, tenderness, swelling, and the appearance of black-and-blue discoloration. Bruises normally heal through the body’s natural repair processes within 1-2 weeks.
Home remedies like cold compresses, OTC painkillers, arnica, and elevation help relieve discomfort during bruise recovery. Some also propose using common toothpaste as a home treatment to speed up bruise healing and fading.
Let’s take a closer look at how toothpaste could potentially work on bruises and whether it’s backed by science.
How Can Toothpaste Help Bruises?
Toothpaste contains ingredients like silica, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, menthol, and fluoride that may theoretically reduce bruising:
➜ Silica provides gentle abrasion to exfoliate pigments from damaged vessels.
➜ Baking soda neutralizes acids released during bruising and reduces inflammation.
➜ Hydrogen peroxide can help cleanse wounds and may fade bruises through oxidation.
➜ Menthol elicits a cooling sensation for soothing pain and swelling.
➜ Fluoride helps rebuild damaged tissue around bruised blood vessels.
However, no studies specifically confirm toothpaste’s efficacy and safety for bruises. Home use carries some risks and toothpaste is not designed as a topical skin treatment.
Types Of Toothpaste Best For Bruises
Not all toothpastes are created equal when it comes to ingredient suitability for treating bruises. Here are some better options:
- Whitening toothpastes contain higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide which may accelerate bruise fading.
- Toothpowders provide fine silica particles and baking soda for gentle exfoliation.
- Fluoride-containing pastes support tissue repair around damaged vessels.
- Herbal toothpastes feature mint, eucalyptus or clove for natural pain relief.
- Sensitive toothpaste designed not to irritate is gentler on traumatized skin.
Always patch-test any toothpaste first and avoid formulations with harsh detergents or chemicals. Discontinue use if irritation develops.
How To Apply Toothpaste On Bruises?
If experimenting with toothpaste for bruises, take these proper precautions:
- Clean the area with mild soap and water first and pat dry.
- Use a small amount of toothpaste – a pea-sized drop for most bruises.
- Very gently massage the toothpaste into the bruised skin for 1-2 minutes using your fingers.
- Allow to fully dry for 10 minutes as toothpaste works best when dry.
- Rinse off with warm water and pat the area dry.
- Repeat 1-2 times daily at most, less if the skin becomes irritated.
- Never use toothpaste on broken skin, only closed bruises.
Monitor closely for any increased redness, itching, or pain, which indicates stopping any further toothpaste application.
When To See A Doctor For Bruises?
While trying toothpaste on minor bruises is generally safe, get prompt medical care for:
➜ Very large or swollen bruises, especially if still expanding in size after a day
➜ Bruises accompanied by bleeding under the skin indicate a hematoma
➜ Bruises caused by serious trauma like a car accident or a fall from a height
➜ Bruises over regions containing internal organs – abdomen, chest, groin, or head
➜ Bruises that won’t fade or continue to worsen after a week
➜ Signs of infection like yellow or green pus, red streaking, fever, or warmth radiating from the bruise
➜ Severe bruising with any concerning symptoms warrants immediate medical evaluation rather than home treatment.
Evidence For Toothpaste As A Bruise Remedy
While toothpaste offers some theoretical benefits, clinical studies are lacking:
- No scientific studies have specifically analyzed toothpaste for bruise treatment. Evidence is strictly anecdotal.
- However, studies confirm the bruise-fading ability of hydrogen peroxide and silica microdermabrasion, lending some plausibility.
- But risks like irritation from chemicals and improper application could outweigh any benefits.
- More research is needed before toothpaste can be safely recommended over proven bruise therapies.
Talk to your doctor before trying toothpaste on significant bruising. While generally harmless, better options likely exist.
More Effective, Proven Bruise Treatments
Rather than toothpaste, use evidence-based bruise remedies:
- Cold compresses – Apply ice immediately to constrict blood vessels and reduce swelling.
- Compression – Gently wrap or bandage bruises to limit swelling. Don’t restrict blood flow completely.
- Elevation – Keep bruised limbs elevated above heart level to minimize swelling.
- Pain relievers – Over-the-counter NSAIDs like ibuprofen help relieve pain and inflammation.
- Comfrey – Comfrey salves containing allantoin are proven to aid bruise healing.
- Arnica – Arnica creams containing helenalin reduce pain and discoloration.
- Bromelain – Oral bromelain enzymes derived from pineapples help resolve bruising.
- Vitamin C – Oral vitamin C aids collagen formation needed for tissue repair.
While applying toothpaste to bruises is generally harmless, current evidence does not solidly support its efficacy or indicate toothpaste is preferable over proven bruise therapies. Theoretically, toothpaste may offer some mild benefits thanks to ingredients like silica, baking soda, and menthol.
But take care to avoid irritation. And see a doctor for worrying bruises unresponsive to home treatment instead of toothpaste. Focus on cold compresses, pain relief, rest, and tried-and-true bruise aids like arnica cream for optimal healing. With time and care, those unsightly marks will fade.