OralDNA and Saliva Testing

Sellwood-Moreland and Portland OR

Your oral health plays a significant role in your overall health. In fact, many studies have proven that a healthy mouth helps lower your risk of developing certain systemic diseases. Nearly 80% of Americans over the age of 35 have some form of gum disease. The ironic part is that gum disease is entirely preventable.


What’s in my mouth?

There are more than 700 different types of bacteria that live in our mouths. Scientists have discovered about 13 strands of these bacteria that cause biofilm, commonly known as plaque and tartar. This buildup sticks to our teeth and around the gumline, and it must be removed by a dental cleaning, although regular brushing and flossing help curtail the buildup. The longer that plaque and tartar remain on your teeth, the greater the risk of harm to your health. Periodontal pathogens are especially opportunistic during periods of emotional or physical stress.

What is gingivitis?

Gingivitis (gum inflammation) is known as the first stage of periodontal (gum) disease. Since the gums are inflamed, they are more prone to bleeding when brushing or flossing. The good news is that with proper cleaning and early treatment, gingivitis can be stopped from progressing to periodontitis.

What’s the problem with gingivitis?

As an isolated health condition, gingivitis might not seem that serious, but it can quickly progress into periodontal disease, which causes:

  • Bad Breath
  • Gum inflammation/bleeding gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Tooth loss

The mouth and body connection

Studies have linked gum disease not only to bad breath and tooth loss but health issues including:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Some types of cancer
  • Premature birth
  • Low birth weight in infants

What causes gum disease?

Many factors contribute to one developing gum disease, aside from poor oral hygiene.

  • Emotional or physical stress
  • Hormonal imbalances (especially during pregnancy)
  • Acute infections
  • Certain chronic medical conditions
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes

At Whole Health Dentistry, our goal is to diagnose and treat oral infections before they have a chance to cause problems to your health. One of the new tools we have for doing this is called OralDNA.

How OralDNA works

The OralDNA test is completely painless and simple. We collect a sample of your saliva by swabbing the inside of your cheek with a cotton swab. Since your saliva contains DNA, the laboratory can analyze the sample to identify harmful pathogens, such as bacteria or viruses, that lead to gum disease.

Test results are available in about a week. A follow-up visit will be scheduled for you to discuss your results with Dr. Smith, in which she will develop a treatment plan that is aimed at keeping your mouth health and gum disease at bay.

Why is OralDNA important for me?

Through salivary diagnostic testing, we can detect periodontal infection during its early stages, even before it is recognizable through a visual exam. The OralDNA test will allow us to determine if you are predisposed to gum disease, which means early treatment.

Whole Health Dentistry offers complete oral care to patients of Sellwood-Moreland and Portland, Oregon. To schedule an appointment, contact Whole Health Dentistry today at (503) 462-1538.