ACS Pharmacol Transl Sci. 2021 Mar 17;4(2):647-665. doi: 10.1021/acsptsci.1c00017. eCollection 2021 Apr 9.
Oral diseases are among the most common encountered health issues worldwide, which are usually associated with anomalies of the oral cavity, jaws, and salivary glands. Despite the availability of numerous treatment modalities for oral disorders, a limited clinical response has been observed because of the inefficacy of the drugs and countless adverse side effects. Therefore, the development of safe, efficacious, and wide-spectrum therapeutics is imperative in the battle against oral diseases. Curcumin, extracted from the golden spice turmeric, is a well-known natural polyphenol that has been extensively studied for its broad pleiotropic attributes and its ability to modulate multiple biological processes. It is well-documented to target pro-inflammatory mediators like NF-κB, ROS, COX-2, IL-1, IL-2, TGF-β, growth factors, apoptotic proteins, receptors, and various kinases. These properties make curcumin a promising nutraceutical in the treatment of many oral diseases like oral submucous fibrosis, oral mucositis, oral leukoplakia, oral erythroplakia, oral candidiasis, aphthous stomatitis, oral lichen planus, dental caries, periodontitis, and gingivitis. Numerous in vitro and in vivo studies have shown that curcumin alleviates the symptoms of most of the oral complications, including the inhibition of the progression of oral cancer. In this regard, many clinical trials have been completed, and many are ongoing to investigate the "curcumin effect" in oral maladies. Therefore, the current review delineates the mechanistic framework of curcumin's propensity in curbing oral diseases and present outcomes of the clinical trials of curcumin-based therapeutics that can provide a breakthrough in the clinical management of these diseases.