Can a Dentist Detect Heart Disease With Just Your Saliva?

Their findings demonstrated that increased levels correlated with reduced flow-mediated dilation—a preliminary sign of arterial health issues.

Dr. Trevor King from Mount Royal University, the lead author of the study published in Frontiers in Oral Health, noted, “Even in young healthy adults, low levels of oral inflammatory load may have an impact on cardiovascular health, which is a major cause of death in North America.”

Dental Health and Cardiovascular Wellness

Periodontitis, a common gum infection, has previously been linked to the emergence of cardiovascular disease. Researchers speculate that inflammatory agents might enter the bloodstream through the gums, harming the vascular system.


The study by Dr. King and his team focused on apparently healthy young adults without diagnosed gum problems to determine if even minor oral inflammation could bear relevance to cardiovascular well-being.

Ker-Yung Hong, the study’s primary author and a dentistry student at the University of Western Ontario, remarked, “We are starting to see more relationships between oral health and risk of cardiovascular disease. If we conclude that oral health may have an impact on the risk of developing cardiovascular disease even in young healthy individuals, this holistic approach can be implemented earlier on.”

The researchers selected pulse-wave velocity and flow-mediated dilation as crucial indicators of cardiovascular risk. These metrics directly measure artery health: stiff and poorly functioning arteries elevate the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The study enlisted 28 nonsmokers aged 18 to 30, devoid of conditions or medications influencing cardiovascular risk, and with no history of gum disease. Participants fasted for six hours prior to the lab visit, with only water intake allowed.

During the lab session, participants rinsed their mouths with water and then with saline, which was collected for analysis. They then reclined for 10 minutes for measurements of electrocardiogram, blood pressure, flow-mediated dilation, and pulse-wave velocity.

Mouth Rinse Test can be Utilized At Annual Checkups

The study unveiled a strong connection between elevated white blood cell levels in saliva and impaired flow-mediated dilation, suggesting an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease for these individuals. However, no association was found between white blood cell levels and pulse-wave velocity, indicating that long-term arterial health impacts hadn’t yet occurred.

The researchers theorized that inflammation from the mouth might seep into the vascular system, impacting the arteries’ ability to produce nitric oxide necessary for responding to blood flow changes. Higher white blood cell levels could intensify vascular dysfunction, although the levels observed in the participants aren’t usually considered clinically significant.

Dr. Michael Glogauer from the University of Toronto, a co-author of the study, noted, “The mouth rinse test could be used at your annual checkup at the family doctors or the dentist. It is easy to implement as an oral inflammation measuring tool in any clinic.”

Dr. King emphasized, “While optimal oral hygiene is always recommended along with regular dental visits, especially in light of this evidence, our study was a pilot. We aim to expand the participant pool, delve deeper into the findings, and include individuals with varying degrees of gum inflammation to better understand its impact on cardiovascular measurements.

Reference :

  1. Periodontitis and cardiovascular diseases: Consensus report – (

Source: Medindia

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