Clinical efficacy of turmeric use in gingivitis: A comprehensive review

Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2016 Nov:25:13-17. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2016.08.004. Epub 2016 Aug 2.


Introduction: Gingivitis affects an estimated 80% of the population, and is characterized as the world's most predominant inflammatory periodontal disease. Without intervention, gingivitis can advance to alveolar bone loss. Therefore, the primary goal in patients suffering with gingivitis is to control plaque buildup and soft tissue inflammation. Current guidelines consider chlorhexidine as the gold standard in the prevention and treatment of gingivitis. However, negative side effects of chlorhexidine, including oral mucosal erosion, discoloration of teeth, and bitter taste, provide an opportunity for alternative medications. Turmeric, a commonly used herb, possesses anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. By virtue of these properties, multiple controlled trials have been performed to investigate the efficacy of turmeric in gingivitis.

Objectives: The aim of this comprehensive review is to summarize and evaluate the evidence on the efficacy of turmeric as compared to chlorhexidine in the prevention and treatment of gingivitis.

Results: PubMed, MedLine (Web of Science), and EBSCO (academic search complete) were utilized as primary literature search tools. The following search strategy was used: ((turmeric OR curcumin OR curcuma) AND (gingivitis OR "gum inflammation")). Five reviewed studies show that both turmeric and chlorhexidine significantly decrease plaque index (PI) and gingival index (GI), and can therefore be used in the prevention and treatment of gingivitis.

Conclusions: Both chlorhexidine and turmeric can be used as an adjunct to mechanical means in preventing and treating gingivitis. However, trials longer than 21 days with a greater number of patients are necessary to further evaluate the comparison between turmeric and chlorhexidine.

Keywords: Curcuma; Curcumin; Gingivitis; Gum inflammation; Turmeric.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chlorhexidine / therapeutic use
  • Curcuma*
  • Dental Plaque Index
  • Gingivitis / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Phytotherapy / methods*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*


  • Plant Extracts
  • turmeric extract
  • Chlorhexidine