Can You Use Vicks VapoRub On Teeth For Whitening?

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Can You Use Vicks VapoRub On Teeth For Whitening

In recent times, there has been a concerning trend of using Vicks VapoRub, a topical decongestant ointment, for teeth whitening. It’s crucial to understand that Vicks VapoRub is not intended to use for teeth whitening and can be dangerous to your oral health. Applying it to your teeth can lead to several potential risks, including chemical burns, gum irritation, and even nerve damage.

This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of Why You Should Not Use Vicks VapoRub On Teeth For Whitening. We’ll delve into the dangers associated with this practice, explore safer and more effective alternatives for toothache relief or whitening, and emphasize safe practices for maintaining good oral health.

Understanding Vicks VapoRub

Understanding Vicks VapoRub
Understanding Vicks VapoRub

Vicks VapoRub is a topical ointment commonly used for:

  • Cough relief: It contains menthol, which creates a cooling sensation in the nasal passages, offering temporary relief from coughs associated with the common cold.
  • Muscle aches: The ingredients, such as camphor, provide a warming sensation that helps soothe minor muscle aches and pains.

It’s crucial to remember that Vicks VapoRub is solely intended for external use on the chest, neck, and back for cough relief, and on the skin for muscle aches. It is not meant for ingestion or internal application of any kind.

Here’s a breakdown of key ingredients in Vicks VapoRub and their functions:

  • Menthol (2.6%): Provides a cooling sensation that helps clear nasal passages and ease coughing.
  • Camphor (4.8%): Creates a warming sensation that soothes muscle aches and pains.
  • Eucalyptus oil (1.2%): Offers a decongestant effect and may help ease coughs.
  • Other ingredients: Petroleum jelly, turpentine oil, and cedar leaf oil act as a base and provide additional fragrance.

It’s important to understand that these ingredients, while safe for external use in their intended purpose, can be harmful when used on or inside the mouth.

Why Avoid Vicks VapoRub On Teeth For Whitening

While Vicks VapoRub might seem like a quick solution for whitening teeth based on online trends, it’s crucial to understand that it poses significant risks and is completely ineffective for this purpose. Here’s why:

Harmful Ingredients:

As discussed earlier, Vicks VapoRub contains several ingredients that can be detrimental to your oral health when applied to teeth:

  • Menthol (2.6%): This ingredient, while providing a cooling sensation, can irritate tooth enamel. Studies published in the All India Institute of Medical Science have shown that an excessive amount of menthol is also reported to have caused agitation, dizziness, ataxia, hallucination, convulsion, and coma
  • Camphor (4.8%): This component creates a warming sensation but can be toxic if ingested. Even small amounts coming into contact with the gums or accidentally swallowed can cause mouth sores, nausea, and vomiting. Additionally, A 1996 monograph from the National Poisons Information Service documents several instances where children experienced severe complications due to the nasal or dermal application of camphor. In one instance, a 3-month-old infant collapsed after using a Vicks Inhaler, which contains 40% camphor.
  • Eucalyptus oil (1.2%): While offering decongestant properties, eucalyptus oil can also irritate the delicate tissues in the mouth, leading to gum inflammation and potential gingivitis. WebMD wrote in his article that “ingesting only a small amount of pure eucalyptus oil, as little as 3.5 mL (less than one teaspoon), can have severe consequences. The oil can induce symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. More severe effects can include stomach discomfort, dizziness, muscle weakness, sensations of suffocation, lethargy, seizures, and even coma.”


Vicks VapoRub lacks the necessary properties to achieve any teeth-whitening effect. Its ingredients are not designed to break down or remove tooth stains. Instead, applying it might leave a temporary film on the teeth, creating the illusion of whiter teeth, but this effect washes away easily and offers no real whitening benefit.

Potential Health Risks:

Applying Vicks VapoRub to your teeth increases the risk of:

  • Allergic reactions: Individuals with sensitivities to any of the ingredients can experience allergic reactions, including rash, swelling, and difficulty breathing.
  • Mouth sores: The harsh ingredients can irritate the delicate oral tissues, leading to painful mouth sores and ulcerations.
  • Digestive issues: Accidental ingestion of Vicks VapoRub, especially by children, can cause abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.

Not FDA-Approved for Oral Use:

It’s important to note that Vicks VapoRub is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for oral use. This further emphasizes the potential dangers associated with using it on your teeth.

Safe Alternatives for Teeth Whitening

Safe Alternatives for Teeth Whitening
Safe Alternatives for Teeth Whitening

While Vicks VapoRub is certainly not an option for teeth whitening, fortunately, there are several safe and effective alternatives available:

1. Professional Teeth Whitening:

Dentists offer various professional teeth whitening procedures, which are generally considered the most effective and safest methods for achieving a brighter smile. These procedures involve using stronger bleaching agents under the supervision of a dental professional. Common options include:

  • In-office whitening: This procedure is performed at the dentist’s office and can take one to two visits. The dentist applies a powerful whitening gel to your teeth, often activated by light or laser technology. This method can achieve dramatic results in a short period.
  • Take-home whitening: The dentist provides custom-made trays and a whitening gel for at-home use. This method typically requires several weeks of daily treatment, but results are still noticeable and long-lasting.


  • Highly effective: Professional whitening offers significant and long-lasting results.
  • Safe: Dentists are trained professionals who can ensure the procedure is performed safely and effectively.

Potential downsides:

  • Cost: Professional whitening can be more expensive than at-home options.
  • Sensitivity: Some individuals may experience temporary tooth sensitivity after the procedure.

2. At-Home Teeth Whitening Options:

For those seeking more affordable options, various over-the-counter teeth whitening products are available:

  • Whitening strips: These thin, flexible strips adhere to your teeth and contain a low-concentration bleaching agent. They are typically worn for 30 minutes to an hour daily for several weeks.
  • Whitening toothpaste: These toothpaste contain mild abrasives and low-level bleaching agents to remove surface stains and offer slight whitening effects. While not as dramatic as other options, they can be a good choice for long-term maintenance.
  • Whitening gels: Similar to professional gels, these are applied to custom-made or one-size-fits-all trays for at-home use. The bleaching agent concentration is lower than professional options, so results take longer to achieve.

Important considerations:

  • Choose products with the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance. This seal signifies the product has been evaluated for safety and effectiveness by the ADA.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper use and duration of treatment.
  • Consult your dentist before using any at-home whitening products, especially if you have sensitive teeth, existing dental work, or any oral health concerns.

By opting for these safe and effective alternatives, you can achieve a whiter smile without compromising your oral health.

Lifestyle Habits for Teeth Whitening

Lifestyle Habits for Teeth Whitening
Lifestyle Habits for Teeth Whitening

While professional and at-home whitening methods offer more dramatic results, maintaining good oral hygiene habits can significantly contribute to a brighter smile naturally. Here are some key practices:

Brushing and Flossing Regularly:

  • Brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste is essential to remove plaque and prevent stain buildup.
  • Flossing daily removes plaque and food particles from between teeth, which can contribute to discolouration.

Using a Whitening Toothpaste:

Consider using a whitening toothpaste that contains mild abrasives or low-level bleaching agents. These can help remove surface stains and maintain a whiter appearance. However, it’s crucial to remember that these toothpastes offer subtle effects and are not a substitute for professional whitening procedures.

Avoiding Staining Foods and Drinks:

Certain foods and beverages can stain teeth over time. These include:

  • Coffee, tea, red wine
  • Dark-coloured fruits and vegetables (berries, beets)
  • Sodas and sugary drinks

Limiting your intake of these items or rinsing your mouth with water after consuming them can help minimize staining.

Avoiding Smoking:

Smoking is a major contributor to tooth discolouration and overall oral health problems. Avoiding tobacco products is crucial for maintaining a healthy and bright smile.

Regular Dental Checkups:

Regular dental visits allow your dentist to professionally clean your teeth and remove stubborn stains. These visits also enable early detection and treatment of potential oral health issues that can affect tooth appearance.

Here are the Best 2 Ways To Kill Tooth Pain Nerve in 3 Seconds Permanently.

By incorporating these simple yet effective habits into your daily routine, you can naturally enhance your smile’s brightness and contribute to overall oral health.


It’s crucial to remember that using Vicks VapoRub for teeth whitening is not only ineffective but also carries significant risks to your oral health. The harsh ingredients can irritate and damage tooth enamel, and gums, and potentially cause other health issues if ingested.

Instead, prioritize the safety and health of your smile by opting for safe and effective alternatives. Consulting a dentist is the best course of action for exploring professional whitening options that are tailored to your needs. If seeking at-home solutions, always choose ADA-approved products and follow the instructions carefully.

Remember, maintaining good oral hygiene habits through brushing, flossing, and mindful dietary choices plays a vital role in achieving and maintaining a naturally brighter and healthier smile. By prioritizing your oral health, you can confidently and safely show off your beautiful smile.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

What whitens teeth really fast?

Unfortunately, there’s no safe and effective way to whiten teeth “really fast.” While some methods might seem quick, they can be damaging to your enamel or gums. Professional teeth whitening done by a dentist is the safest and most effective option for achieving noticeable results.

How can I make my teeth whiter right away?

There are no safe and effective instant whitening solutions. However, practicing good oral hygiene by brushing twice daily, flossing regularly, and avoiding staining foods and drinks can help maintain a brighter smile.

How can I whiten my teeth in 3 minutes?

There are no legitimate methods to whiten teeth in just 3 minutes. Products or methods claiming such quick results are likely ineffective or potentially harmful.

Can Vicks VapoRub cause harm if swallowed accidentally?

Yes, Vicks VapoRub is not safe to swallow and can be harmful if ingested. It contains ingredients that can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and even more serious health problems. In case of accidental ingestion, seek immediate medical attention.

Can Vicks VapoRub be used on a tooth abscess?

No, Vicks VapoRub should not be used on a tooth abscess. It is not a medication and won’t treat the underlying infection. In fact, it might irritate the sensitive gum tissue further. If you have a tooth abscess, consult a dentist immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Can you use Vicks VapoRub for receding gums?

No, Vicks VapoRub is not a treatment for receding gums. It won’t help reverse gum recession and may even irritate the gums further. Receding gums require professional dental care.

How to Use Vicks for Toothache?

Vicks VapoRub is not intended for use inside the mouth and should not be applied directly to teeth or gums. While some people recommend applying it to the cheek near the affected tooth for a numbing effect, this is not a recommended practice. It is crucial to consult a dentist for any toothache to diagnose the cause and receive proper treatment.

Can You Put Vicks on Your Gums?

No, you should not put Vicks VapoRub on your gums. It can irritate the delicate gum tissue and potentially cause further discomfort.

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