Biologist Paul Denny indicates in this article that if the test of the saliva shows that the young patient is at high risk for developing cavities, then extra precautions could be taken such as sealants and fluoride treatments. As a practicing dentist, I wish to point out that both of those procedures are routine with any dentist treating children. Where this saliva test would be valuable is in predicting dental caries in areas not accessible to visual exam: between teeth in tight contact. If indicated, more-aggressive preventive treatment could be given.
Theodore Blinder Havertown, Pa.
From the Nature Index
Subscribers, enter your e-mail address for full access to the Science News archives and digital editions.