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Mixed Results on Benefits of Statins for Chronic Periodontitis

July 13, 2006 

Google the term “statins,” and you will at some point read the phrase “possible wonder drug.”  A growing body of evidence suggests these cholesterol-lowering compounds that are now taken by at least 12 million Americans may also help to interfere with the advance of various diseases, including in theory periodontal disease.  The thinking is, because statins have documented anti-inflammatory and bone stimulating properties, they may help to counter the advance of chronic periodontitis and ultimately tooth loss.  In the June issue of the Journal of Periodontology, a team of NIDCR grantees and colleagues report mixed results in the first study to evaluate this possible link.  The scientists performed a retrospective analysis of dental and pharmacy data from a health maintenance organization in the Pacific Northwest to answer the question:  Do those who took statins within a window of three years after being diagnosed and treated for chronic periodontitis have a decreased rate of subsequent tooth loss compared those not taking statins?  Tracking the dental records of their 1,021-patient cohort for several years post diagnosis, no consistent beneficial pattern of statin use on tooth loss could be observed.  The authors concluded, “Given the importance of finding more effective periodontal treatments and the plausible mechanisms for a beneficial impact of statins on chronic periodontal disease, exploration of these findings in well controlled epidemiological studies may be worthwhile.”  


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This page last updated: March 24, 2014