Lipitor, or Atorvastatin, has an established role in treating high cholesterol levels. During the past few years, Atorvastatin has been tested as a new way of treating periodontitis in people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. In July 2016 the Journal of Periodontology reported on a study from the Vydehi Institute of Dental Sciences and Research Centre and several other institutions in Bangalore, India.
The study included 75 Type 2 diabetics with periodontitis. They were divided into two groups…
- Group 1 received the usual care, consisting of scaling and root planing (deep cleaning).
- Group 2 received scaling and root planing as well as a topical preparation of Atorvastatin.
The Type 2 diabetics receiving Atorvastatin showed greater improvement than the regular treatment-only group at 3, 6, and 9 months. From these results, it was concluded Atorvastatin applied to the tissues surrounding the teeth was effective at treating periodontitis.
Periodontitis is inflammation of the tissues around the teeth. When left untreated it can cause damage to the gums and the loss of bone and teeth. When periodontitis is diagnosed, it is a red flag indicating blood sugar levels should be checked. Many Type 2 diabetics go for years undiagnosed, and periodontitis suggests an investigation is warranted.
Chronic inflammation in response to periodontal bacteria grows in the mouth of Type 2 diabetics with poor sugar control. Poorly controlled Type 2 diabetes also thickens blood vessels, making it difficult for teeth, gums, and bone to receive sufficient oxygen and nutrients. Well-controlled diabetics are in no more danger than non-diabetics.
Like other infections, periodontitis can lead to high blood sugar levels, making diabetes difficult to control. That is why regular dental checkups and deep cleaning and treatment of gum disease is important. Brushing and flossing twice a day can be life-saving. Type 2 diabetics with healthy teeth and gums have fewer complications of their heart, kidneys, and nervous system than those with periodontitis. Visit your dentist twice a year or more often as recommended.
Most dentists recommend soft-bristled toothbrushes. Brush with a sweeping motion from gums to biting surfaces. Then scrub biting surfaces with back-and-forth motions. Floss is not meant just to remove food from between the teeth. Wrap floss in a “C” shape around each tooth. Pull the ends back and forth while moving the “C” up and down. Using floss along with brushing will keep your teeth clean.
Some ways to avoid periodontitis and diabetic complications include…
- not smoking
- good oral hygiene
- blood sugar control
- regular dental check-ups and deep cleaning.
Controlling your blood sugar levels can seem challenging at first, but with enough knowledge and practice, the task will become less daunting.