The use of BokaFlo™ instrument to measure salivary flow

BMC Oral Health. 2021 Apr 12;21(1):191. doi: 10.1186/s12903-021-01477-4.


Background: Dry mouth currently affects roughly 20% of the population and is a condition characterized by chronic hyposalivation and/or subjective reports of xerostomia. Low saliva flow can be indicative of other undiagnosed diseases, such as primary Sjogren's syndrome, and may contribute to difficulty chewing, increased caries susceptibility and infection. The passive drool test (PDT) is the primary method used to evaluate patients for hyposalivation but it is time-consuming and inconvenient. New methodology is needed to facilitate increased testing for hyposalivation in the dental clinic. The aim of this study was to evaluate an alternative method to measure salivary flow in dental offices.

Methods: In this study, we tested a new biomedical device, the BokaFlo™, to measure salivary flow in subjects in comparison to the current PDT standard. Participants completed an oral health questionnaire and saliva flow was evaluated by the PDT and the BokaFlo™ system.

Results: Saliva flow as measured by the BokaFlo™ positively correlated with the saliva flow measured by the PDT methodology (r = 0.22, p < 0.05). The device predicted low saliva flow in subjects with a sensitivity of 0.76 and specificity of 0.84 for subjects with hyposalivation, defined as a saliva flow rate of ≤ 0.1 ml/min. A significant negative correlation between the total oral health questionnaire score and the likelihood of participant exhibiting low salivary flow was observed (r = - 0.31, p < 0.006).

Conclusion: The BokaFlo™ was effectively able to measure low saliva flow correlating with the PDT methodology and may provide more efficient testing of saliva flow in the dental office.

Keywords: BokaFlo; BokaFlo™; Dry mouth; Hyposalivation; Passive Drool Test; Saliva Flow; Sialometry; Sjogren’s syndrome; Testing saliva flow; Xerostomia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Oral Health
  • Saliva
  • Sjogren's Syndrome* / diagnosis
  • Xerostomia* / diagnosis