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New research from the Medical University of South Carolina’s College of Dental Medicine indicates that statins, commonly used for treating high cholesterol, may have additional benefits for oral health. The study, conducted on cell cultures, reveals that statins could potentially mitigate inflammation linked to periodontal disease by altering the activity of immune cells known as macrophages.

Statins benefit gum health and reduce heart disease risk

Statins are the most commonly prescribed medication in the United States, with over 40 million Americans using them to lower cholesterol. Recent research suggests that statins may also benefit gum health and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Assistant Professor Subramanya Pandruvada from the College of Dental Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina conducted a study replicating conditions of periodontal disease and found that introducing statins modified macrophage response, potentially offering a new avenue for treating inflammatory conditions like periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease is caused by bacterial growth in the gums, triggering an immune response and leading to symptoms like swelling, bleeding, and bone loss. If untreated, it can result in tooth loss. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around half of adults over 30 have some form of gum disease.

Statins target macrophages and alleviate inflammation

Current treatments for advanced periodontal disease encompass antibiotics, deep cleanings, and various surgical interventions. Nevertheless, researchers aim to discover less invasive approaches to alleviate gum disease. Previous studies have indicated that individuals on statins typically exhibit fewer periodontitis symptoms. This recent report is the pioneer in elucidating the biochemical mechanisms through which statins may mitigate periodontal inflammation.

Recent research suggests that statins, commonly used in periodontal therapy, exhibit beneficial effects beyond traditional treatment methods. Specifically, they target macrophages, key players in the body’s immune response, and may help alleviate inflammation associated with periodontal disease. In a study, macrophages were grown alongside gum cells and exposed to simvastatin, a common statin drug, revealing a suppression of the macrophage inflammatory response. This novel approach could offer promising avenues for treating periodontal disease.