Taking statins can help prevent tooth loss but good dental hygiene remains the best way to improve your oral health, British Dental Health Foundation has said.
According to a new study, people taking statins are almost three times less likely to suffer from tooth loss compared to those not on the drug.
Statins are normally used to lower blood cholesterol levels. They are the most commonly prescribed medicines in the UK, and can help to reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks, two problems that have been linked to increased poor oral health in the past.
For five years, researchers compared patients on statins with those not on the drug and concluded that the use of statins could reduce the effect of gum disease and bone loss with the consequence of keeping teeth for longer.
Commenting on the research, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, said it “does not mean people on statins can forego basic oral health principals. Tea, coffee, a healthy diet and not smoking are just a few things that have been linked to improved oral health, but they all require the foundations of a good oral care routine.”
Observing that gum disease affects most people at some point in their lives, Dr Carter said there was “no excuse for ignoring good dental hygiene.”
He added: “The good news is that poor oral health is nearly always preventable, so it is important that people make caring for their teeth a top priority. Regular visits to the dentist, as often as they recommend, are really important to give the dentist a chance to assess your oral health and, if necessary, give your teeth a scale and polish.”
Dr Carter however, added that regular visits to the dentist alone were not enough to help people improve their oral health. “That’s why I’d also encourage a simple routine of brushing teeth, twice a day for two minutes using a fluoride toothpaste, which will help to remove plaque – the cause of gum disease. It is also important to clean in between teeth using interdental brushes or floss.”