Is mouthwash enough to detect risk of heart disease?

As of August 18, 2023, 2:17 p.m

Canadian scientists suspect that the risk for later cardiovascular diseases in the mouth can be identified, whereby gingivitis and periodontitis do not even have to have broken out.

A possible connection between periodontitis and cardiovascular diseases is not new in principle. But an experimental study from North America now suggests that the risk of such diseases can be measured before the onset of gum disease in the mouth.

In the study, healthy people rinsed a saline solution in their mouth. The scientists, from Canada’s Mount Royal University, then found a correlation between high levels of white blood cells in the sample and an impairment in something called flow-mediated vasodilation, an early indicator of poor artery health. “Even in young, healthy adults, a low level of oral inflammation can impact cardiovascular health — one of the leading causes of death in North America,” says Trevor King, one of the authors of the study, which is published in the journal “Frontiers in Oral Health” has been published.

The scientists hypothesized that inflammation from the mouth invading the vasculature impairs the arteries’ ability to produce the nitric oxide, which they use to respond to changes in blood flow. Higher white blood cell concentrations may have a greater impact on vascular dysfunction. “The mouthwash test could be used during regular check-ups at the family doctor or dentist,” says Michael Glogauer of the University of Toronto, a co-author of the study. “It’s easy to use as a gauge of oral inflammation.”

However, the work is initially a pilot study with only 28 subjects. The scientists hope to be able to conduct even more extensive research in this area in the future.

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