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Cholesterol drug may help reduce gum inflammation in heart patients

By Dental Tribune International
October 07, 2013

BOSTON, USA: A recently published study has suggested that statins, a class of drugs commonly prescribed for lowering cholesterol, can also reduce inflammation associated with gum disease. The research provided further evidence of a link between dental health and heart health, indicating that reducing inflammation for one of the conditions may also improve the other.

The study involved 83 adults with risk factors for or with established atherosclerosis, who were asked to take either 80 mg of statin or 10 mg of statin daily for 12 weeks. After the period, the researchers compared PET/CT scans taken at baseline, after four weeks and after 12 weeks. They found that 59 patients showed a significant reduction in gum inflammation after four weeks of treatment with a high dose of statin.

In addition, the results showed that a reduction in gum inflammation was closely associated with an improvement in arteriosclerotic disease. The researchers thus suggested that improved oral hygiene to reduce inflammation of the gums may also lead to reduced inflammation of the arteries.

Among other suggestions, they recommended that patients with heart disease and stroke inform their physicians about any significant gum disease and advised that physicians should be particularly careful to follow existing guidelines for treating gum disease.

The study, titled "Intensification of Statin Therapy Results in a Rapid Reduction in Atherosclerotic Inflammation: Results of a Multicenter Fluorodeoxyglucose-Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography Feasibility Study," was published online on Sept. 3 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. It was carried out by researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital in collaboration with Harvard Medical School.

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