What Saliva Tests Can Reveal About Your Dental Hygiene
A study published in 2021 gave a fascinating insight into the oral health of Australians. It found that 29% of adults had gum disease. On average, they had lost 4.4 teeth, and gum health had actually deteriorated between 2004-2018.
No one wants to be on the wrong end of those stats. Sure, you brush and floss your teeth regularly but do you really know how good your dental hygiene is? There is now a great way to find out, using saliva tests.
If you’ve never heard of them, don’t worry. You’re far from alone. Let’s take a quick look at what saliva tests are and how they can help you improve your dental hygiene.
What’s the Role of Saliva in Oral Health?
Saliva is crucial to our oral health because it lubricates the mouth. It also helps to dilute the sugars that we eat and drink, reducing their impact on our teeth. This is known as buffering or neutralising the acid in our mouths.
When saliva works correctly, it prevents our mouth from becoming a very acidic environment. When the pH or either saliva or plaque drops below 5.5, tooth enamel starts to wear away. Tooth structure loss caused by an acidic environment is called Erosion. This leads to cavities.
But when our saliva works correctly, it raises the pH and neutralises the acidic environment. Then ions of calcium and phosphate start to repair the enamel. This is called remineralisation.
There are two types of saliva – resting (non-stimulated) and stimulated. Stimulated saliva is produced by the body in response to a stimulus, like eating. Salivary diagnostic tests look at both types.
These tests can give you an insight into whether the saliva you’re producing is effectively protecting your mouth.
What Are Saliva Tests?
Saliva testing helps dentists better understand the impact your lifestyle is having on your oral health. Saliva tests are done in the dentist’s office and you get your results quickly. The tests comprise:
- Tests non-stimulated saliva – flow rate, consistency and viscosity
- pH test of resting saliva
- Quantity of stimulated saliva
- Buffering capacity of stimulated saliva
Your dentist will analyse the results and use them to provide tailored advice for your situation.
Who Needs Saliva Tests?
If your dentist notices that your teeth are wearing more quickly than they should, they may recommend saliva testing. Other reasons include:
- Dry Mouth
- Increased incidence of cavities
- Increased sensitivity
- Bad breath
- Changes in gums
- Signs of oral diseases
Saliva testing helps you to take a targeted approach. You’ll be able to adjust your diet to keep the problem at bay. The good news is that it includes healthy foods and habits that will benefit your overall health as well.
Choose Saliva Tests for Better Dental Health
Knowledge is power, and saliva tests can help you find out exactly what’s going on in your mouth. There are several means of increasing salivary output and quality, a dentist can advise you once the saliva test results have been conducted.
At The Bondi Dentists, we provide saliva testing along with a full range of general, cosmetic, and restorative dental services.
Call us at 02 9389 0700 or send us an appointment request online today!