According to findings from a recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Buffalo, the use of PPIs for heartburn, gastric reflux, and ulcers may be associated with a reduced severity of periodontal disease.

In a retrospective analysis published in the journal Clinical and Experimental Dental Research, the researchers utilized patient records from a faculty periodontal practice and reviewed clinical data from more than 1,000 patients with periodontitis who were either using or not using PPIs. The percentage of elevated probing depths was used to measure periodontitis severity, and statistical analysis was performed using independent sample t-tests and Chi-square tests of independence.

According to the study, only 14% of teeth from patients who used PPIs had probing depths of 6 mm or more, compared with 24% of teeth from patients who did not use the medication. The researchers also noted that 27% of teeth from patients using PPIs had probing depths of 5 mmm or more, compared with 40% of teeth from non-PPI users.

The authors of the study concluded that PPIs are correlated with a decreased proportion of elevated probing depths, inferring that PPIs might play a role in diminishing the severity of periodontitis. They also noted that future prospective studies are warranted to further characterize that relationship and to evaluate whether PPIs have the potential to serve as an adjunct in periodontal therapy.

In an interview, Lisa M. Yerke, DDS, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Periodontics and Endodontics at the UB School of Dental Medicine, stated, "The findings may be linked to the side effects of PPIs, which include changes in bone metabolism and in the gut microbiome. PPIs could potentially be used in combination with other periodontal treatments; however, additional studies are first needed to understand the underlying mechanisms behind the role PPIs play in reducing the severity of periodontitis."

Dr. Yerke added, "Additional studies are under development to determine if this relationship can be found in other populations of patients with gum disease, and to learn to what extent the relationship can be directly attributed to PPIs."

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