Links Between Oral and General Health
The Mouth as Early Warning System
Problems in the mouth can signal trouble in other parts of the body. AIDS and
osteoporosis are examples.
- Mouth lesions and other oral conditions may be the first sign of HIV
infection, and are used to determine the stage of infection and to follow its
progression to AIDS.
- Studies in post-menopausal women suggest that bone loss in the lower jaw may
precede the skeletal bone loss seen in osteoporosis.
Saliva As a Diagnostic Tool
Saliva, like blood and urine, can be used to detect and measure many compounds
in the body. Saliva collection has the advantage of being noninvasive.
- Many medications as well as alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, opiates, and other
drugs can be detected and measured in saliva. Hormones and environmental toxins
can also be measured in saliva.
- Saliva can be used to detect antibodies against viruses such as HIV and
hepatitis A and B, as well as antibodies against bacteria like Helicobacter
pylori, which causes peptic ulcers.
- Saliva could potentially replace blood testing for diagnosis and monitoring
of diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson's disease, alcoholic cirrhosis, and many