A recent published study indicates that patients on a common drug regimen to treat heart disease may also reduce gum inflammation as well. Published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the study revealed that statins, commonly prescribed to lower cholesterol, also decreased the gum inflammation associated with gingivitis and periodontal (gum) disease for participants. Perhaps what makes this study unique is that it demonstrated so clearly the direct correlation between periodontitis and atherosclerosis. The defining symptoms between the two conditions are inflammation, which is present within most patients that have heart disease.
Can arterial plaque buildup in arteries or blood vessels, often referred to as atherosclerosis, be associated with bacterial plaque buildup on teeth? And can physicians successfully treat one condition and see improvement in the other?
Researchers created a randomized, double blind study with patients who had heart disease or who were at extremely high risk for heart disease. Each participant was assigned to take either a 10 mg or 80 mg statin daily for 12 weeks. Prior to taking the prescription, all patients underwent PET/CT scans. They also performed the scans again at four week and at 12-week intervals for comparison. In the final analysis, 59 patients showed a significant decrease in gum inflammation after four weeks of treatment with the high-dose statin. With the reduction of gum swelling, subjects showed an improvement in their atherosclerosis.
The study’s co- author, Dr. Ahmel Tawkol, MD, co-director of the Cardiac Imaging Trials Program at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, concluded, “Statins have beneficial effects beyond their lipid lowering properties. Physicians should take this into consideration when discussing hyperlipidemia treatment options with their patients.”
Findings from this study are just another further example of the growing body of evidence of the link between heart disease and gum disease. Other possibilities for further investigative research might be the causal relationship between gum inflammation and arterial inflammation, including how an improvement in oral hygiene reduces both conditions.
Currently over 50 percent of the adult U.S. population suffers from some form of gum disease from gingivitis to a more destructive condition called periodontitis that can affect the underlying attachment to our teeth and destroys bone. According to the Journal of Dental Research, in adults 65 and older the prevalence increases to 70.1 percent! But no one has to live with progressive gum inflammation as long as they are diligent about regular oral hygiene at home and schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings.
At Mark Langberg, DDS, it’s our job to keep your smile healthy and beautiful. Without our smiles, how else can an introduction or a relationship be complete? We pride ourselves on going well beyond the State of Michigan continuing education requirements for maintaining our credentials. Keeping abreast of the latest dental research advancements and the latest technology and techniques means you can count on a comfortable, worry-free and state of the art visit! Check out our dental services and see the difference a great dentist makes. Your healthy smile is worth it!
Until Next Time,
Mark W Langberg, DDS, MAGD
Your Southfield Family Dentist
Tel: (248) 356-8790