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What is Saliva Testing and How Can it Improve your Oral Health?

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How Our Oral Health Can Benefit from Saliva Testing

Saliva is quickly becoming popular as an important diagnostic tool for our health. New technology has made it possible to use saliva as a way to detect our risk of oral and general health problems. This could include different cancers, heart attacks, strokes, periodontal disease, and more. In our office, we have incorporated two salivary diagnostic (DNA) tests – MyPerioPath and MyPerioID PST.

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Our saliva contains many different types of antibodies, cytokines and hormones. These are compounds that enter our saliva through our blood. Saliva is considered a health mirror because it contains biomarkers that give us insight into what is going on in the rest of our bodies. These characteristics are what make saliva an excellent source to monitor both our systemic and oral health.

Alternative to Blood Testing

Many of us may struggle with giving samples of our blood for testing. This may be due to a bad experience in the past, or a general fear of needles. Providing a sample of our saliva for testing is much easier. Obtaining saliva is a noninvasive procedure and it is readily available. During the diagnostic process, our saliva is much easier to handle when compared to blood as well. For example, saliva does not clot like blood does. And, collecting our saliva instead of blood significantly decreases the chance of someone experiencing an accidental transfer of an infectious disease.

Saliva Flow

Saliva flow does impact our oral health in a variety of ways. When we do not have proper saliva flow, it can result in a prolonged loss of minerals and cause dental problems. With low saliva flow, your body had a harder time cleaning and protecting itself from tooth decay, tooth erosion and gum disease. Testing your saliva can reveal if you have a healthy saliva flow. This can be an indication of our future susceptibility to cavities and other types of oral health issues. The correct saliva flow rate is determined by factors such as gender and age. There may be different causes of low saliva flow, such as taking certain types of medications. dry mouth, xerostomia or other health issues.

Bacteria Count

There are different types of bacteria that can affect our oral and overall health. Bacteria on our teeth erodes our enamel and causes infections in our teeth and gums. Having more of one type than another can determine if we are more likely to develop cavities or other types of oral health issues. Saliva testing allows us to test for this to see if there is an imbalance and treat accordingly.

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Identifying Disease

The testing of our saliva can help doctors or dentists discover the cause of a disease as well as monitor the activity of a disease in our bodies. It is also an effective way to evaluate the success of any type of treatment we receive. This makes it possible for dentists as well as dental hygienists to give us a higher standard of care. The test results from our saliva can help clinicians design therapy plans to meet our individual needs. This can apply to any type of medical care as well as oral hygiene and more.

As these assessments are being performed in our office, our team of registered dental hygienists notes any risk factors for oral and systemic diseases a patient presents with and then thoroughly explains the correlations to our patients. Then, we can create a patient profile, including our patient’s oral and systemic risk factor findings and discuss how his or her chronic (reversible) gingivitis or (irreversible) periodontal disease may place him or her at risk for cardiovascular disease, poor glycemic control, rheumatoid arthritis, respiratory complications, stroke, poor nutrition, pre-term delivery, and even adverse pregnancy outcomes.

This allows us to recommend treatment or further testing to reduce your risks of having these health problems. Early detection of diseases makes it possible for us to get timely treatments. This will enable us to experience better results from the treatments we receive and reverse or stop the process of different ailments.

Periodontal (gum) disease often begins with tooth decay, often referred to as having a cavity. It is considered one of the most pervasive diseases of our day. Tooth decay is the result of bacterial plaque being on our teeth and combining with certain carbohydrates and acids. These types of acids can harm the cementum as well as enamel and dentin of our teeth. Tooth decay involves a number of different environmental as well as biological factors. Testing our saliva can provide us with a tooth decay risk assessment. It can also identify factors in our life that could be causing us to have tooth decay. Luckily, tooth decay is also a condition that is easy to prevent with a well-rounded regular home dental care routine and semiannual visits to your dentist for professional hygiene exams.

. It also will help patients to identify negative behavioral patterns that are hurting their health and push them to make positive changes in their lifestyle habits. We care for our patients’ whole body health, and understand the connection that exists between your mouth and your body. Our goal is to ensure that we give you all the tools, treatment and support you need to have a healthy body for years to come. Contact our office today to find out more!