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Saliva Testing

Saliva testing

Your saliva usually acts to protect your teeth - it neutralises harmful acids which dissolve some of the minerals in your teeth and so weaken them. But if you don't produce enough saliva, if you have high bacteria levels in your mouth, or if you snack frequently, then the tooth mineral lost is too great and can't be replaced. Your teeth don't repair themselves and so you're vulnerable to tooth decay and cavities.

A saliva (or caries risk screening) test lets us spot when your saliva isn't working properly and so predict dental decay as early as possible. By analysing the quantity and quality of your saliva, we can identify your risk factors and draw up an individual treatment plan for your long-term dental health.

A saliva test involves your chewing on a wax lozenge to stimulate saliva, after which we collect a sample. Next, we measure the quantity of your saliva when 'resting' and when 'stimulated' - how much you produce affects how effectively the saliva protects your teeth. We also measure the quality of your saliva, how well it coats and lubricates your teeth and gums, and therefore how well it neutralises mouth acids and provides minerals that strengthen your teeth.

Your results are available immediately, and we'll give these to you in writing, along with our recommendations for treatment and how you can help yourself.

How we can treat

We can prescribe antibacterial mouth rinses and gels. We can also apply sealants to your teeth where the tooth grooves are so narrow and deep that they are more likely to harbour bacteria.

How to help yourself
  • Reduce your intake of sugary foods and drinks.
  • Increase your intake of foods that help saliva protect your mouth, such as milk, cheese, tea.
  • Brush your teeth after each meal or snack, or chew sugar-free gum.
  • Fill a drinking bottle with water and add a couple of teaspoons of baking soda for every 250ml; swish with this through the day.
  • Use toothpastes containing baking soda.
  • Use fluoride toothpastes, rinses and gels.