Scientists wanted to determine if saliva could be tested for signs of periodontal disease, a chronic bacterial infection affecting millions of Americans. The study's results showed it could.
"Our research team has been working on methods and point-of-care devices that could allow saliva to be used as a diagnostic fluid," said Craig Miller, primary investigator and professor of oral medicine. "This could impact the practice of dentistry and medicine in the very near future, as healthcare practitioners use saliva, possibly instead of blood, to diagnose and monitor oral and systemic health."
He said eventually portable devices might be created to diagnose a wide variety of disease conditions using saliva.
The research appears in the March issue of the Journal of American Dental Association.