Many people take statin drugs to lower their cholesterol and new research has shown that the drugs also reduce the inflammation associated with gum disease. Gum disease affects about half of the US adult population and causes chronic inflammation.
The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, adds to the links previously found between heart health and gum disease. The study suggests that actions taken to treat gum disease may also reduce inflammation in the arteries and vice versa.
Dr. Ahmed Tawkol, co-author of the study, said “Periodontitis (gum disease) and atherosclerosis are both primarily driven by inflammation. These inflammatory conditions tend to co-exist within individuals and their biologies may be intertwined.”
The study was a randomized trial that had patients with heart disease or a high risk of heart disease take either an 80 mg statin or a 10 mg statin daily for 12 weeks. Patients showed a significant reduction in gum inflammation after as few as four weeks on the higher dose statin. “Statins have beneficial effect beyond their lipid lowering properties,” said Dr. Tawakol. “Physicians should take this into consideration when discussing treatment options with their patients.”
Statin drugs are useful but, like any drug, come with side effects. Talk to your physician about all of your health conditions, including gum disease and take appropriate steps to treat your gum disease. Healthy gums are linked to better overall health.
Please contact Rothfus Family Dental in Medford, OR today at 541-858-7994 today to find out more about your options for preventing or treating gum disease.