The potential impact of salivary peptides in periodontitis

Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci. 2021 Nov;58(7):479-492. doi: 10.1080/10408363.2021.1907298. Epub 2021 Apr 13.


Periodontitis is a complex immune-inflammatory condition characterized by the disruption of the periodontal ligament and subsequent formation of periodontal pockets, and by alveolar bone loss, often resulting in tooth loss. A myriad of factors, namely, genetic, metabolic, immunological, and inflammatory, is associated with progression of periodontitis. Periodontitis is also associated with systemic conditions such as neoplastic disorders, obesity, and diabetes. The current diagnosis of this disease relies on clinical measurements such as clinical attachment loss and probing depth, which have poor precision due to patient, operator and probe-related factors. Thus, there is a need to develop reliable, objective, and reproducible biomarkers for early diagnosis of periodontitis. In this regard, saliva, with contributions from the gingival crevicular fluid, holds great potential. However, most of the information on biomarkers of periodontium-related salivary proteins has come from studies on the molecular pathogenesis of periodontitis. In periodontitis, a more holistic approach, such as the use of -omics technologies, for biomarker discovery, is needed. Herein, we review the biomarkers proposed to date for the assessment of periodontitis, with emphasis on the role of salivary peptides in periodontitis and their assessment by high-throughput saliva proteomics. We also discuss the challenges pertaining to the identification of new periodontitis biomarkers in saliva.

Keywords: Biomarkers; periodontitis; salivary proteome.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Humans
  • Periodontal Index
  • Periodontal Pocket
  • Periodontitis* / diagnosis
  • Saliva
  • Salivary Proteins and Peptides


  • Biomarkers
  • Salivary Proteins and Peptides