Home test kit could soon spot gingivitis between visits to the dentist
While gingivitis can lead to tooth loss, the bacteria responsible for the gum disease can also enter the bloodstream and cause heart disease or other maladies. That's why early detection is important, which is where a new home testing kit may soon come in.
The saliva-sample-analyzing setup was created by the University of Cincinnati's Prof. Andrew Steckl and senior research associate Daewoo Han, working with Proctor & Gamble scientist Sancai Xie. It utilizes a chemical reagent which reacts to the specific endotoxins which are present in the cell walls of Porphyromonas gingivalis bacteria.
Getting the reagent to do so initially proved to be challenging, as saliva contains a variety of substances that can make it difficult to detect any one biomarker. A naturally occurring protein called amylase proved to be particularly problematic in this regard, until the scientists found that its effect could be negated by pretreating the saliva sample with potato starch.
The kit itself takes the same form as the Covid-19 testing kits most of us have used, featuring a well for the saliva sample along with a paper test strip on which one or two bars will appear to indicate the results. There's currently no word on when it may be available for general use.
A paper on the research was recently published in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Sensors and Diagnostics.
Source: University of Cincinnati