Periodontal disease is incredibly common, and with half of American adults struggling with some degree of this disease, finding new ways to reduce the incidence of it is critical. The link between elevated cholesterol levels is well documented; reduced circulation caused from high cholesterol can lead to heart attack, stroke, and — of course — gum disease. Now new research shows that statins (cholesterol medicine) can improve the condition of gum disease in patients who take them.
Cholesterol Levels, Inflammation and Periodontal Disease
An infection of the gums, the symptoms of periodontal disease can range in severity depending on the progression of it. Milder forms of gum disease, known as gingivitis, can usually be treated at home with a good oral health regimen. Advanced periodontitis, however, often requires medical intervention to treat it.
Patients who have high cholesterol levels often have more severe periodontal disease, complete with deep gum pockets, receding gums, and tooth loss. However, taking statins has been shown to reduce the incidence of gum disease in patients with elevated cholesterol:
- In as little as four weeks, patients who took statins noticed dramatically reduced gum disease
- Reduced systemic (blood vessel inflammation) led to less gum inflammation
- Patients who had higher levels of CVD (cardiovascular disease) and took higher doses of statins had the highest benefits overall to their gum disease
- Patients who took statins had 43% less overall inflammation and 37% fewer periodontal pockets
The debate on correlation versus causation is always raised when studies like this come out, but research seems to strongly suggest that the periodontal disease actually triggers the cardiovascular disease and not the other way around. Chronic inflammation in your body can tax your entire system, leading to heart attack, stroke, and even death.
Taking good care of your teeth is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. In addition to brushing and flossing, regular dental cleanings can help keep you at your best health. Please give our office a call today to set up your appointment with our skilled and professional dental staff for a comprehensive cleaning and assessment for gum disease.