How 1 Texas dental office is using saliva testing to advance oral systemic health

Vaca and Kirby Dental in Longview, Texas, is using salivary diagnostic testing to enhance overall health in its patients, KLTV reported May 23.

The development of rapid tests during the COVID-19 pandemic fueled interest in salivary diagnostic tests, according to the American Dental Association. These tests are being examined for their effectiveness at screening patients for oral or systemic diseases, monitoring infections, detecting drugs and evaluating endocrine disorders and cancer risk. Dental executives are becoming more optimistic about the potential for these tests to improve medical-dental integrated care and prevent certain oral health conditions. 

Chris Kirby, DDS, told KLTV he experienced a heart attack in 2012, which led him to begin researching bacteria that can indicate larger health issues. He then took an HR-5 saliva test, which showed he had a high level of bacteria linked to heart attacks. The practice then added saliva testing as a service for patients.

Kristi Seymour, a dental hygienist at the practice, told KLTV that once patients complete the test, it is sent off to an oral pathology lab. The practice receives results back within a few days that details which bacteria is present in the patient's mouth. The practice can then customize a treatment plan.  

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