DNA in your saliva can reveal important information.
If you’re a fan of detective shows, you probably know that your saliva contains DNA. Of course, saliva can have forensic applications, but did you know it can also provide the team at Ada Smile Place with invaluable information about your health?
It’s true! We offer simple, painless testing that provides a host of specific data relating to both your oral condition and overall health. The saliva testing system that we use, OralDNA, takes less than a minute. You just swish and gargle with a saline (salt) solution for 30 seconds, then spit the solution into a tube. That’s it.
The results that we receive are amazingly comprehensive and useful for such a straightforward test. Here are 5 of the many important things your saliva can reveal about your health.
1. Your Risk of Periodontal Infections
Periodontal (gum) disease is at epidemic levels in the United States. Over half of all American adults suffer from some level of periodontal disease. Not only can gum disease be painful and unattractive, but it can also have serious consequences for your oral and general health.
Gum disease can directly result in tooth loss. Furthermore, gum infections are linked to diabetes and diabetic complications, cardiovascular problems, pregnancy complications, and more. Gum bleeding, soreness, and swelling are all signs of periodontal disease, but the pathological process may begin before symptoms manifest.
This is where saliva testing comes in. Analysis of the DNA in your saliva can determine your genetic risk factors for gum disease. This information lets us know if you might need extra preventative care or more frequent evaluations. By assessing your risk for periodontal disease, we can better customize your dental care to your unique needs.
2. Your Periodontal Bacteria
Assessing your genetic markers for periodontal disease risk is only part of what we can do. Our saliva testing can also check for the presence of specific bacteria in your mouth. Many oral bacteria are harmless and can even be helpful. However, there are certain bacteria that are pathogenic or disease-causing.
Pathogenic oral bacteria may lead to gum issues, as well as systemic health complications. We can test your saliva for over a dozen different species of harmful bacteria. By identifying the types and amounts of these bacteria in your mouth, we can develop targeted, effective treatment plans to combat the problem and keep your gums and body healthy.
3. Strategies to Fight Oral Thrush
People most commonly associate oral thrush with babies, but this problem can also strike adults. Thrush is actually an infection from a type of yeast, Candida. In adults, thrush can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms, including white plaques in your mouth, bleeding, a bad taste, and pain or a burning sensation. In severe cases, thrush may even make it difficult to eat and drink.
Thrush will normally respond to antifungal medications. However, some types of thrush are resistant to standard treatments. Saliva testing will tell us not only if you have thrush but also the specific type of thrush. This data allows us to pick the most appropriate treatment to definitively and quickly resolve your issue.
4. Cavity-Causing Germs
As you may know, bacteria are also responsible for cavities. Certain bacteria feed on the sugars left on your teeth after meals and snacks. These bacteria secrete acid that damages the enamel of your teeth and causes decay.
Three bacterial species are the culprits in cavity formation. We can test your saliva for all three. If the test is positive, we know that we need to pay special attention to your preventative care to ensure that your teeth stay strong and beautiful.
We will also monitor the levels of cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth over time. This surveillance allows us to determine if treatments are effective and alter strategies accordingly. After all, the health and appearance of your smile are our top priorities.
5. Diagnosis and Treatment of Mouth Sores
If you’ve ever had a cold sore, you know they can be painful and embarrassing. These pustules may form inside or outside your mouth, and they often cause sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, as well as spicy or salty foods. While most cold sores or fever blisters resolve on their own, they may recur with frustrating frequency.
A cold sore or fever blister is actually a viral infection. The herpes simplex virus 1 causes cold sores, and this virus can spread by simple contact, such as kissing. There is no way to eradicate this virus completely from your body, but your dentist can treat it. Unfortunately, cold sores often resemble other oral lesions, and effective treatment depends on an accurate diagnosis.
Saliva testing from the dentists at Ada Smile Place can help determine the cause of your mouth sore. Once we know the cause, we can recommend an appropriate plan of action.
Contact us now for the best in advanced dental diagnostic and individualized care for yourself and your family.