Heartburn Medications May Have Unexpected Benefits For Gum Disease

By on October 13, 2021 0

Metro Creative Connection

Wed Oct 13, 2021 2:40 PM

Submitted by the University of Buffalo

The use of heartburn medications is associated with a decrease in the severity of gum disease, according to a recent study from the University of Buffalo.

Research found that patients who used proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) – a class of drugs commonly prescribed to treat heartburn, acid reflux, and ulcers – were more likely to have depths of smaller probing in the gums (the space between the teeth and the gums). When the gums are healthy, they adapt perfectly to the teeth. However, in the presence of harmful bacteria, the gap widens, leading to inflammation, bone loss and periodontitis, also known as gum disease.

The findings, published last month in Clinical and Experimental Dental Research, may be linked to side effects of PPIs, which include changes in bone metabolism and the gut microbiome, says lead researcher Lisa M. Yerke, DDS, assistant professor. clinic in the Department of Periodontics and Endodontics of the Faculty of Dentistry at UB.

“PPIs could potentially be used in combination with other periodontal treatments; However, more studies are first needed to understand the mechanisms underlying the role that PPIs play in reducing the severity of periodontitis, ”says Yerke.

Additional investigators include first author and UB alumnus Bhavneet Chawla, and Robert E. Cohen, DDS, Ph.D., professor of periodontics and endodontics at the UB School of Dental Medicine.

The study aimed to determine if there is a relationship between PPI use and gum disease. The researchers analyzed clinical data from more than 1,000 periodontitis patients whether or not using PPIs. The probing depths were used as an indicator of the severity of periodontitis.

Only 14% of teeth from patients who used PPIs had probing depths of 6 millimeters or more, compared to 24% of teeth from patients who did not use the drug. And 27% of teeth from patients using PPIs had probing depths of 5 millimeters or more, compared with 40% of teeth from non-PPI users, according to the study.

The researchers hypothesized that the ability of PPIs to alter bone metabolism or the gut microbiome, as well as potentially impact periodontal microorganisms, could help reduce the severity of gum disease.

Further studies are under development to determine whether this relationship can be found in other patient populations with gum disease, and to what extent the relationship can be directly attributed to PPIs, Yerke says.

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