Point-of-care salivary microbial tests for detection of cariogenic species — Clinical relevance thereof — review
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Dental caries is a highly prevalent multifactorial disease that can result in serious health impairment. It was shown that oral bacteria play a significant role in caries development. Point-of-care (POC) salivary microbial tests for detection of cariogenic species have been investigated as a potential tool for caries risk assessment. This review aims to evaluate clinical relevance of these tests in the light of recent scientific evidence. Methodology involved PubMed search using key words salivary microbial tests, cariogenic bacteria and caries risk prediction. Articles obtained by the search were cross-referenced to obtain further sources. Specificity and negative-predictive value of these tests are higher than their sensitivity and positive value. Predictive power of the POC salivary microbial tests as a single predictor is generally weak, although it increases when included in multifactorial models for caries prediction. Literature findings support the use of these tests for screening of at-risk individuals in a population of young preschool children without visible caries and for motivation of subjects on individual level. POC salivary microbial tests are simple and inexpensive and, therefore, may be advantageous from public health perspective.
KeywordsLactobacillus Dental Caries Dental Plaque Streptococcus Mutans Early Childhood Caries
polymerase chain reaction
random amplified polymorphic DNA
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