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Curcumin has been highlighted for use in many health problems- from cancer to heart disease, but we don’t often think about potential benefits which don’t involve consuming the stuff. We know it’s a great anti-inflammatory agent, so there has been particular interest in using it to decrease signs of inflammation around the body. The latest area has been for inflamed gums, or gum disease.

Chlorhexidine is one form of standard mouthwash for oral inflammation, but it doesn’t sound like a great chemical to swill around your mouth does it, and it may trigger allergies.

A new study compared 0.1% curcumin mouthwash to 0.2% chlorhexidine gluconate as an antiplaque agent and its effect on gum disease inflammation.

One hundred and fifty subjects, age between 20 and 30 years were recruited and  split into 3 groups- one curcumin, one chlorhexidine and one inactive placebo.

Curcumin mouthwash was shown to be as effective in antiplaque and anti-gum disease properties as chlorhexidine mouthwash. A study in 2012 had a similar result.

It gives people a natural option which is unlikely to trigger an allergy, or kill off good bacteria. Perhaps eating turmeric in curry several times a day has a similar anti-inflammatory effect, although before you go making your own, remember that turmeric and its extracts do stain bright yellow- it is used as a natural food colouring after all! We’re pretty sure only people with a brace need to worry about that, all the rest of us shouldn’t gain a fluorescent smile 😉


Chatterjee A, Debnath K, Rao NKH. A comparative evaluation of the efficacy of curcumin and chlorhexidine mouthrinses on clinical inflammatory parameters of gingivitis: A double-blinded randomized controlled clinical study. J Indian Soc Periodontol. 2017;21(2):132–137. doi:10.4103/jisp.jisp_136_17 �

Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash