Researchers in Finland have developed the first at-home test for detecting periodontitis. Specifically, the test screens for the presence of an enzyme in your saliva that is responsible for the gum disease. The test is geared for people who are chronically ill and women trying to conceive, as both are at the highest risk for adverse health effects due to gum disease.
The test, called PerioSafe, is a pain-free device patients can administer to themselves that will give results in 10 minutes.
The researchers said that they wanted to create an easy, at-home test for periodontal disease because there are over 28 million people in Germany alone who need treatment for periodontitis, and only one million people are currently treating it. According to the World Health Organization, severe periodontitis is found in 15-20% of adults between the ages of 35 to 44 worldwide.
Such an early detection for periodontitis is extremely important for patients suffering from diabetes, rheumatism, or cardiovascular or lung disease and women who want to conceive or who are already pregnant. Periodontitis has been found to greatly increase the mortality rates for diabetics and the risk of premature birth. Periodontal disease has been linked to an increased risk of stroke as well as other serious health problems.
The test is currently only for sale within Europe, but if it passes FDA standards as well as the standards of the ADA, then hopefully this test will be found in US stores as well. Of course, such a test should never be a substitute for visiting your dentist on a regular basis.