Periodontitis is a chronic inflammatory disease in the oral cavity caused by bacterial biofilm attached to tooth surfaces. The periodontal pathogenic microorganisms trigger the disease process; however, the destruction of the periodontium is mostly caused by the host’s immune response to the bacterial insults. The main thrust of periodontal therapy has been centered traditionally on reducing the microbial load by mechanical and antimicrobial means. This approach has been reported to be effective for the majority of patients and sites. However, modulating the host response by anti-inflammatory agents could provide another viable pathway to managing poorly responding periodontal patients. The overall objective of this paper is to review current data pertinent to curcumin and its dual anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties and to explore its potential in managing patients with periodontal diseases. Curcumin has a wide biological spectrum that could provide clinicians with an alternative anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial agent for managing a variety of maladies including periodontal diseases. However, large-scale longitudinal randomized clinical trials are needed to prove efficacy and effectiveness of curcumin in managing periodontitis. Furthermore, its structure requires modification in order to improve its bioavailability and its clinical effectiveness. Further research aiming at improving its delivery and formulation will enhance its dual potential as an important anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial agent in periodontology.
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