Salivary Biomarkers for Diagnosing Dental Caries

Scientist reviewing test tube contents
Bacterial and host-derived proteins, enzymes, inflammatory mediators, ions and minerals in saliva may be used as salivary biomarkers for the diagnosis of dental caries. Statherin, proline-rich proteins and histatin-1 levels are considerably elevated with dental caries.17,18 Salivary calcium and phosphate concentrations are decreased.19,20 The concentration of salivary biomarkers associated with Streptococcus mutans and sobrinus), lactobacilli, and Actinomyces spp. are considerably higher in patients with dental caries and in those at risk of dental caries.21
Point-of-care salivary diagnostics based on microbial biomarkers such as Dentocult Strip Mutans (Orion Diagnostica, Espoo, Finland), Ivoclar CRT (Ivoclar Vivadent, Amherst, NY), CariScreen caries susceptibility test (Oral BioTech, Albany, OR) are available for the detection of increased caries risk or caries activity. Since xerostomia also promotes demineralization, a determination of salivary flow rates may further contribute to the identification of patients at increased caries risk.22