Exciting new research has resulted in the development of a diagnostic tool which scientists hope will revolutionize dentistry. The tool would provide a comprehensive view of a patient’s oral and physical health in just 30 minutes. Therefore, it could transform the way that dental check-ups take place and treatment outcomes for patients.

Calgary Students Urge “Yes” Vote to Water Fluoridation Debate - Taradale Dental

A new diagnostic tool that has been developed could revolutionize dentistry and the way that dental check-ups are carried out in the future.

Scientists have created a tool that would involve a patient giving a sample of their saliva and in return getting a comprehensive set of information about their oral health – including risk levels for developing cavities and physical health problems [1].


Currently, when we attend a dental check-up, our dentist will typically make visual observations on the health of our teeth and gums. Moreover, they may also use an X-ray to gain further insight into your oral health.

These measures can provide a dentist with a good understanding of the oral health of their patient. They then provide an explanation to the patient. If treatment is needed, they can also tell them about this.

This is an effective measure. However, it isn’t possible at this stage to screen for physical health problems. Oral health and physical health are intrinsically linked.

Therefore, if there was a way that a dentist could check for both oral and physical health issues during a check-up, this would prove hugely helpful. The good news is that new research may have developed a method of doing this.

The Research

Scientists from the Forsythe Institute out of Massachusetts, United States, have been working on a diagnostic tool that would involve a saliva sample providing a variety of health information. Their findings have been published in the Journal of Oral Microbiology [1].

The study used CRISPR-based technology – with CRISPR being a family of DNA sequences. Within this technology, a program called SHERLOCK was used. SHERLOCK is a CRISPR-based diagnostic platform which can target RNA and DNA molecules [1].

Using the technology, the team adapted it to target four types of oral bacteria that is known to cause oral conditions like cavities and gum disease [1]. Moreover, the team also targeted three types of oral bacteria which are associated with various cancers, cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative conditions and digestive diseases [1].

The scientists programmed the technology to allow it to detect specific oral pathogens in just 30 minutes [1]. This would allow the patient to provide a saliva sample, which could result in harmful pathogens being detected.

The research suggests that a patient would simply need to spit in a tube to provide a saliva sample. Then, the results would return in just 30 minutes, thereby allowing the dentist to see their patient’s risk of developing both oral and physical health problems.

The researchers have stated that the tool isn’t yet fully developed. But they are hoping that once complete, it will result in a revolutionary effect on dentistry, patient experience and treatment outcomes.

The Benefits

The researchers believe that this technology could transform dentistry. It would definitely have a positive effect on dental check-ups and their accuracy.

One of the main benefits would be the way that conditions can be targeted from an early stage. Early detection is crucial in healthcare – with the sooner that problems are discovered, the likelier a positive treatment outcome is.

Dr. Batbileg Bor was the lead researcher of the study [2]. He was delighted with the findings. He mentioned that “targeted treatments are only possible when you know which bugs are in the mouth” and that diagnosis allows doctors to “create effective treatments” [2].

Bor pointed out that this tool was much better than other tests available. He said that “available tests on the market are either low sensitivity or require analysis at an expensive centralized laboratory” which “can take months to get the results” [2]. However, Bor said that his tool “solves both problems, featuring high-sensitivity, low-cost tests with rapid results” [2].

There are also other benefits. For example, when a person is screened for conditions like heart disease and diabetes, it will normally involve a blood sample. But this tool would mean that blood would no longer be needed – saving transport costs, processing costs and administrative costs. Instead, results would be much quicker.

There are a plethora of benefits to this tool. The researchers were understandably delighted with the results and have high hopes for the future impact of this exciting diagnostic tool.

Thinking points…

[1] This development is very exciting! But in the meantime you need to remember to attend regular dental check-ups! As mentioned above, dental check-ups provide a dentist with the chance to have a thorough look at your mouth and give you advice and tips. Furthermore, if treatment is needed, they can make some recommendations. We recommend booking an appointment now!

[2] One of the main things that this tool looked out for is signs of gum disease. Gum disease affects many people and can cause a range of problems. If you are concerned about the health of your gums, you could discuss this with your dentist at your next appointment. While there is no cure for gum disease, treatment options are available, including root planing and scaling. Why not book an appointment now and discuss your options with your dentist!

What we offer at Taradale Dental

Taradale Dental is a Calgary dental clinic that provide its patients with a wide range of dental treatment options and advice aimed at improving their oral health.

It is very important to have excellent oral hygiene. This involves brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing regularly and eating healthily. Therefore, this should help your oral health.

We advise our patients to attend our Calgary dental clinic at least twice per year for a regular dental check-up. At these check-ups, we provide a comprehensive review of a patient’s oral health. If any problems are detected, we have many treatments available. For example, these include cavity fillings and root canals.

Here at Taradale Dental, we also have some cosmetic treatments available! These include dental implants, teeth whitening and Invisalign™! Many people find that these treatments have a positive impact on their appearance, confidence and self-esteem.

Moreover, all of our services at our Calgary dental clinic Taradale Dental are set in line with the Alberta Dental Fee Guide. This ensures transparent and fair pricing.

We hope to see you soon at our Taradale Dental clinic in Calgary! You can find out more about us by visiting our website https://taradaledental.ca.


[1] Liu, J., Carmichael, C., Hasturk, H., Shi, W., & Bor, B. (2023). Rapid specific detection of oral bacteria using Cas13-based SHERLOCK. Journal of Oral Microbiology. 15 (1). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/20002297.2023.2207336.

[2] Forsyth Institute. (2023). Application of CRISPR-based rapid detection technology has potential to transform oral health. Available: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2023-05-application-crispr-based-rapid-technology-potential.html. Last accessed: 19th May 2023.