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Saliva and Its Role in Disease Detection

Posted by Jeanne V. Devi, D.D.S. on Aug 24 2021, 05:44 AM

Although saliva is mostly water, it also contains protein molecules that lubricate our tongues, it maintains our body’s pH balance, prevents the growth of bacteria, and helps us digest food. 

Low levels of saliva can increase the risk of developing gum disease, bad breath, yeast infections, and cavities. 

Dr. Devi at Jeanne V. Devi, DDS, Aesthetic & Restorative Dentistry in Pasadena, California, specializes in a variety of dental treatments and procedures that can improve your wellbeing and focuses on staying up to date with the latest info that can impact oral health. 

In this blog, we’re taking a closer look at how essential saliva is and how it can help in disease detection.

Can Saliva Help Detect Disease?

Blood and urine samples have long been the main sources of diagnosis information in healthcare. Now, the rapid advancements in healthcare technology and an increased understanding of our anatomical functions are changing how saliva is perceived.

A recent report published in the American Scientist magazine reveals that doctors can now detect and monitor diseases using samples of saliva. Another study published by PubMed.gov reveals that saliva “reflects the physiological and pathological state of the body.”

Can Saliva Be the Future of Diagnostics?

At the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) conference on ‘Saliva Diagnostics and Salivanomics”, Dr. David Wong, Associate Director of Research at the University of California, Los Angeles, spoke about the exciting opportunities of using saliva liquid biopsy as a method for diagnosing lung cancer.

He said, “One of the most exciting emerging frontiers of saliva is liquid biopsy, which is a non-invasive means to assess the presence and characteristics of cancer in a patient with an indeterminate pulmonary nodule detected by low dose computerized tomography.” 

In addition to this, the publishers of the PubMed study consider using saliva for diagnostics to be a breakthrough for both healthcare companies and patients as saliva collection is “easy, non-invasive, and inexpensive.” 

To sum up, the future of healthcare and diagnostics will soon see a paradigm shift as innovators learn to leverage the treasure trove of physiological information a drop of saliva can offer.


Schedule an appointment with Dr. Devi if you are suffering from a dry mouth or feel you aren’t secreting enough saliva. Our dedicated team can help determine the root cause and take action to ensure your health is optimal. To contact Jeanne V. Devi, DDS, Aesthetic & Restorative Dentistry, call (626) 795-2544 or visit us at 595 E Colorado Blvd Suite 603, Pasadena, CA 91101.

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