HEALTH TIPS

Diabetes drug metformin could stop gum disease and aid healthy aging

  • Although gum disease occurs in the mouth, previous research shows it can affect health in other parts of the body, such as the heart and bones.
  • Researchers from King’s College London recently found that metformin —a common type 2 diabetes drug—may help improve clinical outcomes for non-diabetic people with gum disease.
  • The same study also found that metformin may help prevent bone loss caused by either periodontal disease or aging via both mouse and clinical trials.

About 19% of the world’s adult populationTrusted Source has severe periodontal diseaseTrusted Source.

Also known as gum disease, this condition occurs when the tissues holding teeth in place become infected. If left untreated, periodontal disease can damage bones in the mouth and ultimately lead to tooth loss.

Periodontal disease can also impact other areas of the body. Previous studies link gum disease to an increased risk for cardiovascular diseaseTrusted SourceAlzheimer’s diseaseTrusted SourcediabetesTrusted Source, and respiratory diseaseTrusted Source.

Now, researchers from King’s College London have found a common type 2 diabetes drug may help improve clinical outcomes for non-diabetic people with gum disease, as well as help prevent bone loss caused by either periodontal disease or aging, via both mouse and clinical trials.

This study was recently published in the Journal of Translational MedicineTrusted Source.

Using metformin to treat gum disease

For this study, Dr. Vitor Neves, academic clinical lecturer, periodontology registrar in the Faculty of Dentistry, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences at King’s College London, and lead author of this study, and his team focused on using a common type 2 diabetes drug called metformin.

Previous studies have looked at the anti-inflammatory propertiesTrusted Source of metformin to provide protection against conditions like cardiovascular diseaseTrusted Sourceliver diseaseTrusted Source, and certain types of cancerTrusted Source.

This is also not the first study to look at metformin as an ‘anti-aging’ therapy. Research published in August 2019 found there is mounting evidence suggesting the drug offers beneficial effects in reducing the risk of aging-related diseasesTrusted Source.

A study published in April 2021 says metformin reduces the levels of AGEsTrusted Source — a marker of aging — by lowering insulin and blood glucose levels and increasing insulin sensitivity.

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