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Statins May Help To Reduce Tooth Loss
June 25, 2014

By Nancy Volkers
InteliHealth News Service

INTELIHEALTH - Drugs called statins may help to protect against tooth loss, a study has found.

Researchers from Germany kept track of 134 people for 5 years. All of the people took statins. These are drugs that help to lower cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation in blood vessels. The researchers compared this group with a group of similar-aged people who were not taking statins. After 5 years, people taking statins were about 30% less likely to have lost at least 1 tooth.

People taking statins who had higher than ideal levels of LDL ("bad cholesterol") at the start of the study gained even greater protection. They were 36% less likely to lose teeth during the 5-year period than people with similar LDL levels who were not taking statins.

A 2013 study suggested that statins may reduce the risk of gum disease. Severe gum disease can lead to tooth loss. In the 2013 study, people took high or low doses of a statin for 12 weeks. Those on the high dose had less gum inflammation, as well as improvement in artery health.

Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, affects nearly half of U.S. adults. Some studies have linked it with heart disease. One theory is that gum disease leads to body-wide inflammation, which affects the blood vessels.

The German study appears in the June issue of the Journal of Periodontology.

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