A special mouthwash can be used to detect oral inflammation, which is directly related to the risk of cardiovascular disease. This allows for easy early diagnosis and could contribute to a significant reduction in cardiovascular deaths.
In a new study involving experts from McMaster University, mouthwash samples were used to measure the oral inflammatory load throughout the mouth and identified as an indicator of blood vessel function. The results have been published in the English-language journal Frontiers in Oral Health.
Identify cardiovascular risk earlier
If it were possible to quickly and easily identify the early warning signs of cardiovascular disease, it could save many lives. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), cardiovascular diseases are among the most common causes of death in both men and women.
According to the new study results, a mouth rinse with subsequent examination of the sample could make a contribution here and provide early indications of the cardiovascular risk.
Inflammation of the gums leads to cardiovascular diseases
The number of white blood cells in the saliva is a clear indicator of gingivitis, and periodontitis is in turn linked to the occurrence of cardiovascular disease, the researchers explain.
The current study made it clear how reliably a measurement of oral inflammation using white blood cells indicates the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The study included a total of 28 people between the ages of 18 and 30 who did not have any concomitant diseases that could have an impact on the risk of cardiovascular disease. The same applied to taking medication. All participants did not smoke and none had a history of periodontal disease, the researchers report.
Prior to the laboratory tests, all participants were instructed to fast for a period of six hours and only consume water.
In the lab, they first rinsed their mouths with water before finally rinsing with a saline solution, from which a sample was taken for later analysis.
Next, the participants were instructed to lie down for ten minutes while doing an electrocardiogram. This was followed by a rest period of another ten minutes while lying down with measurement of blood pressure, flow-mediated dilatation and pulse wave velocity.
Pulse wave velocity, which measures the stiffness of the arteries, and flow-mediated dilation, a measure of the ability of the arteries to dilate for improved blood flow, were used by the team as key indicators of cardiovascular risk.
Oral inflammation a warning sign
Analyzing the data, the researchers found that high white blood cell counts in mouthwash samples, resulting from oral inflammation, were significantly associated with poor flow-mediated dilatation. According to the team, this indicated that those affected had an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
However, the researchers could not find any connection between the white blood cells and the pulse wave velocity. Therefore, it was not possible to determine longer-term effects on artery health, according to the team.
What possible explanation is there?
Based on the results, the researchers suspect that inflammation from the mouth that penetrates the vascular system impairs the ability of the arteries to produce nitric oxide, which they use to respond to changes in blood flow.
In any case, it is becoming clear that low values of the oral inflammatory burden have an impact on cardiovascular health, study author Dr. Trevor King in a press release. This finding could help protect more people from dying from cardiovascular disease in the future. (as)