Your saliva can speak for your general health. Your mouth is the gateway into your body and the presence of gum disease has serious implications for your teeth and your general health. Bacteria that cause gum disease can be detected in your saliva via Oral DNA Saliva Testing. Everyone has bacteria in their mouth and our bodies keep these bacteria in check most of the time. However, when certain destructive bacteria reach a certain level, our body can no longer keep them at bay. These bugs cause inflammation of the gums and destruction of the supporting bone that houses your teeth, hence the beginnings of periodontal disease better known as gum disease.
Oral DNA Saliva Test can detect the presence of these bacteria and even report how much of these destructive bacteria are present. The final analysis can enlighten both the doctor and the patient as to which bacteria are above threshold. When a bacteria is detected above threshold that means our bodies can no longer balance these bugs and gum disease has won the battle.
This test is easy to conduct and involves collection of saliva sample which is then evaluated via Oral DNA Labs.
As a clinician, this information is vital to us as it helps us come up with a treatment plan that is individualized to the patient. We can prescribe antibiotics that are particular to that specific pathogen and along with professional deep cleaning (root planing) and in some cases the use of soft tissue laser and Arestin (an antibiotic placed directly in the gum pocket) we can halt the progression of this silent disease.
Gum disease has been linked to many systemic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, premature or low birth weight babies, dementia, and rheumatoid arthritis. The common link to all these diseases is the escape of the bacteria from the gum pockets into the blood stream, hence causing generalized inflammation. In one study, conducted in Kentucky, subjects with severe gum disease were tested for their C-Reactive Protein prior to treatment. They all exhibited elevated C-Reactive Protein and after extraction of the diseased teeth, their C-reactive protein markers dropped to normal levels. C-reactive protein is an indicator of inflammation in the body which can lead to many health problems.
Oral DNA Testing can also detect the presence of certain strains of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which has been linked to oral cancer. There are approximately 6 million new cases of HPV reported per year as per Center of Disease Control and about 20 million americans are currently infected with this virus. Early detection and awareness of certain strains of this virus can put both the doctor and patient on guard so proper measurements can be taken to aid in early diagnosis of oral cancer.
Signs and symptoms of gum disease are bleeding gums when brushing and flossing, bad breath, swollen gums, elongated teeth, mobility of teeth, gum abscess, and blood in your saliva. Click here to read more about gum disease and its implications, and prevention.
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to your health,
Dr. Rabee McDonald