Salivary diagnostics: enhancing disease detection and making medicine better

Eur J Dent Educ. 2008 Feb;12 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):22-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0579.2007.00477.x.


To monitor health status, disease onset and progression, and treatment outcome non-invasively is a most desirable goal in the health care delivery and health research. There are three prerequisites necessary to reach this goal: 1. A non-invasive method for collecting biological samples. 2. Specific biomarkers associated with health or disease. 3. A technology platform to rapidly discriminate the biomarkers. An initiative catalysed by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) has created a roadmap to achieve this goal through the use of oral fluids as the diagnostic medium to scrutinize the health and disease status. This is an ideal opportunity to bridge state-of-the-art saliva-based biosensors and disease-discriminatory salivary biomarkers in diagnostic applications. Oral fluid, often called the mirror of the body, is a perfect medium to be explored for health and disease surveillance. The translational applications and opportunities are enormous. This review presents the translational value of saliva as a credible clinical diagnostic fluid and the scientific rationale for such use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Diagnosis
  • Disease
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Saliva / chemistry*
  • Technology, Dental


  • Biomarkers