WHAT LIVES IN MY MOUTH?
There are more than 700 different types of bacteria that live in our mouths. Scientists have discovered multiple strands of these bacteria cause biofilm, commonly known as plaque and tartar. This buildup sticks to our teeth and around the gum line and must be removed by a dental cleaning. Regular brushing and flossing help curtail the buildup as well. The longer plaque and tartar remain on your teeth, the greater the risk of harm to your health. Periodontal or “gum” pathogens are especially opportunistic during periods of emotional or physical stress. These pathogens cause gingivitis and periodontitis (gum disease).
THE MOUTH AND BODY CONNECTION
Multiple studies have linked harmful bacteria in the mouth not only to bad breath, cavities, and tooth loss but serious health issues including:
- Heart Attacks
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Alzheimer’s Disease & Dementia
- Some forms of Cancer (Pancreatic, Colon, Esophageal, Lung, Head & Neck)
- Premature birth or Miscarriage
HOW SALIVARY TESTING WORKS
The Salivary test is completely painless and simple. We collect a sample of your saliva by having you spit into a collection tube. Since your saliva contains bacterial DNA, the laboratory can analyze the sample to identify the harmful pathogens discussed above. Test results are available in about a week. Your results will be emailed to you along with a breakdown of your sample and any treatment recommendations that are now uniquely indicated for you.
Beyond Gut Health: A Look at Your Oral Microbiome
What is salivary diagnostics?
Hello, Dr. Ryan Lepore here, to talk about something relatively new in dentistry that I am so excited about. That topic is salivary diagnostics, and Lepore Comprehensive Dentistry is so proud to offer it.
Think of salivary diagnostics or salivary testing like getting routine blood work with your primary care physician.
Where your bloodwork might tell you your cholesterol levels or your blood cell counts. Salivary diagnostics instead takes a sample of your saliva to tell us vital information about your oral health, but more importantly about your overall health.
How does oral health relate to the overall health of a person?
We know with certainty nowadays that the bacteria in the mouth that causes your gums to bleed and eventually, gum disease have a direct downstream causal relationship to heart attack and stroke.
As recently as January 2019, we discovered a bacterial strain that we thought was only linked to gum disease now has an extraordinarily strong link to Alzheimer’s disease.
Before, we did not have a way to measure how prevalent and in what ratios these harmful bacteria were present in a patient’s mouth but now with salivary diagnostics we do.
How is the salivary diagnostics test performed?
By taking a simple saline solution and swishing for only 30 seconds, we can look for the 11 bacteria most-linked with systemic illness and disease, conditions like heart attack, stroke, dementia, diabetes early-term birth, and certain cancers.
There are patients out there who feel defeated because it seems like every time they come to the dentist they discover a cavity. Another test we perform can see if you truly are at higher risk by the bacteria in your mouth.
What is the benefit of salivary diagnostics?
Salivary tests can show whether you have certain genes that put you at higher risk for developing gum disease and many of the other chronic inflammatory illnesses we discussed earlier, not just dental conditions.
We use this information to accomplish certain things. First, it allows us to have a highly personalized treatment approach with a better risk assessment for more predictable outcomes.
This allows us the opportunity to establish a systematic way to track a patient’s oral health progress.
Finally, these tests are not just for people with preexisting conditions or for people who already know they have gum issues or a history of cardiovascular disease.
Preventative medicine is catching on in a big way. With this tool, we have the opportunity to discover potential issues down the road and help prevent them from ever happening.
WHY IS SALIVARY TESTING IMPORTANT FOR ME?
Through salivary diagnostic testing, we can detect infection during its early stages, even before it is recognizable through a visual exam. The salivary test will allow us to determine if you are at increased risk for gum disease, heart attacks, strokes, dementia and more. This information allows us to offer customized treatment options to reduce the bacterial levels and ultimately decrease your risk for oral and systemic disease.