Salivary Diagnostics

A salivary diagnostic test (or simply, "salivary test") measures the levels of various viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens in saliva. Our dentists use these tests to assess the risk of tooth decay and periodontal disease.

A salivary diagnostic test gives your dentist important information about your dental and overall health. The test can show if a patient has diabetes, acid reflux, allergies, gum disease, as well as specific types of bacteria.

How Is A Salivary Diagnostic Test Done?

A salivary diagnostic test is a blood test that measures the level of certain hormones and other substances in your saliva. Saliva is the liquid that's produced in your mouth by your salivary glands.

A salivary gland diagnostic test is done by collecting saliva through a cotton swab. The cotton swab is usually rubbed on the tongue or against the cheek. After collecting the saliva, it is sent to a laboratory to examine for irregularities.

The cotton swab method is usually preferred over the mouthwash method because it is simple. One needs only cotton swabs, test tubes, and containers to collect the saliva.

Saliva testing is used to detect:

  • Hormone levels (such as cortisol, testosterone, DHEA, melatonin, and estradiol)
  • Sleep patterns
  • Alcohol and drug use
  • Dentistry-related conditions (such as dry mouth, tooth decay, and periodontal disease)
  • Certain medications (such as antidepressants, anticoagulants, and corticosteroids)
  • Thyroid disease
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer

Saliva testing is non-invasive and relatively comfortable for patients. Because the sample can be tested without specialized equipment, results can be available quickly. Salivary diagnostics measure hormones, antibodies, enzymes, and other substances.

Salivary Diagnostics And Periodontal Disease Treatment

One of the most obvious reasons for tooth loss in adults is gum disease. Gum disease is the result of bacteria, yeast, and viruses that live in the mouth. As per various studies, approximately 10 to 15 bacteria and other yeast and viruses (pathogens) are mainly the culprits behind gum disease. However, the pathogen types and the combination of pathogens that cause gum disease are different for different people. And each individual has their own personalized reaction to these pathogens, which will depend on their genetics and lifestyle. Some among them include smoking, sleep apnea, nutrition, genetics, hydration, and even exercise. So, it is not the presence of bacteria alone but the unique individualized response from each person that affects the expression and the damage from the disease.

So, the best thing to prevent gum disease is to control the pathogen population. This is possible by identifying the pathogen population and using targeted therapeutic strategies to reduce the bacterial load. A salivary diagnostic test can identify and measure the bacteria, yeast, and viruses present in the tongue, understand which ones are responsible for periodontal disease, and take measures to reduce them.

By conducting salivary diagnostics, dentists can also understand the quality and type of bacterial load in the tongue, determine the baseline population of bacteria and identify the diseases. This will aid them in comprehensively treating oral infections. It also gives the dentist an idea of the variations in pathogen profiles between the disease presentation and when the disease is stabilized. 

Call us at Wayne H Mori Dental o schedule an online appointment to know more about salivary diagnostics.

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