The role of today’s dentist may be changing. Because a slew of research has shown that the health of your oral cavity is indicative of your overall health, cancer researchers have decided to begin studies on human saliva. What they have found out so far may surprise you. Today your Des Moines Dentist, Dr. Stephen Burds discusses the topic can saliva detect breast cancer?
An extensive amount of research has indicated that the health of your mouth can determine your overall health. Science has already determined that symptoms of certain diseases can appear in the mouth first, for instance oral cancer. Of course, oral cancer is oral and it makes sense for symptoms to begin in the mouth. More importantly, systemic diseases can present in the mouth. Mouth sores are a symptom in common with lupus, HIV, and Crohn’s disease. Science has also shown that a person’s susceptibility to certain diseases such as arthritis, osteoporosis, and heart disease can be measured with a saliva test.
Saliva and Breast Cancer
Scientists have begun studying whether or not saliva can be an indicator of health problems. Three major advantages of determining the existence of disease using saliva is that it is easy, painless, and non-invasive. Various tests can be conducted on saliva, including one which measures protein levels in the saliva of cancer patients, particularly breast cancer patients. Protein levels were found to be significantly elevated in breast cancer patients indicating that saliva may eventually be an easy and reliable way to detect breast cancer. Because people are required to visit their dentists twice yearly, if the test is administered by the dentist at each checkup, there is a better chance it will be detected early. Early detection is key to survival.
Over 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer yearly. Mammograms are not required until age 40 and, accept in extreme cases, insurance will not cover them until then. By that time breast cancer may already have taken hold
Due to the connection between your overall health and oral health and the role saliva is beginning to play in determining disease, dentists roles may change. They may become the go-to person to determine your overall health risks by simply swabbing your saliva.