Utilizing pH testing for caries administration

Utilizing pH testing for caries administration

After we deal with our sufferers, we must always embody an evaluation of their circumstances.

After we deal with our sufferers, we must always embody an evaluation of their circumstances. This isn’t solely whereas they’re in our chair, but additionally their day by day habits that will result in the circumstances we see. As college students, we be taught in regards to the many elements that contribute to caries danger, nevertheless, we’re thought of profitable clinicians once we put all of it collectively. Implementation of saliva testing and caries danger evaluation instruments present assist for dental hygienists to make personalized residence care suggestions for our sufferers. 

Why pH is vital

Why is pH related to the oral situation and caries administration? We all know that each time we eat or drink, the pH in our mouth adjustments. This will result in an acidic atmosphere within the oral cavity. With this transformation in pH and the presence of caries-causing micro organism, mouths are inclined to decay. “The pH scale measures a substance’s acidity or alkalinity. The size ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 representing neutrality. The decrease finish of the size is acidic, and the upper finish of the size is alkaline.”1 

Have you learnt the pH of your oral cavity? What about your sufferers’? “Saliva has a traditional pH vary of 6.2 to 7.6 with 6.7 being the common pH.”2 How can we check the pH of saliva? There are lots of assets and instruments to information us whereas educating our sufferers to implement caries prevention practices.  

Saliva testing

We all know that a lot of caries administration is about habits, and we are able to full a extra correct evaluation of our sufferers’ oral atmosphere by chairside and at-home saliva testing. Frequent snacking and consumption of sugary drinks will increase a affected person’s danger for dental caries. We all know there are methods to extra safely devour this stuff to assist fight the dangers, however can we share this data with each affected person? 

In-office saliva testing is a conversations starter about pH. There are just a few methods to consider this. You’re in a position to present a baseline pH degree in a managed atmosphere and use the outcomes as an academic device. One easy-to-use check package is the Saliva-Verify BufferR by GC America. It’s utilized in faculties and practices to teach college students and sufferers on saliva pH elements. It contains exams for resting saliva, visible inspection of hydration, saliva consistency, and pH measurement.3 “Resting pH of mouth doesn’t fall under 6.3. Within the oral cavity, the pH is maintained close to neutrality (6.7–7.3) by saliva.”2 The stimulated saliva is examined by saliva amount and buffering capability. All directions, check strips, and charts are supplied. 

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The OralRisk Caries check by OralDNA exams for “three varieties of dangerous micro organism recognized to trigger cavities: Streptococcus mutans, Streptococcus sobrinus and Lactobacillus casei.”4 This check is accomplished through an oral rinse process and despatched to OralDNA for a report. You and your sufferers can interpret the extent of caries-causing micro organism and devise an applicable plan for administration.  

Residence testing has turn out to be extra fashionable by the years. As individuals take a extra energetic function in testing for issues corresponding to meals sensitivities and fertility, the idea of testing at house is accepted. If an in-office protocol and in-depth testing don’t appear possible, contemplate buying pH strips. Utilizing these exams chairside may also begin a dialog about oral pH, and for sufferers with elevated danger, at-home monitoring and information assortment could also be match. 

A superb supply of knowledge is the podcast “Tipisode” by A Story of Two Hygienists. Spring Hatfield, RDH, discusses her expertise implementing saliva testing chairside and the conversations she’s had along with her sufferers. She shares that although she has labored in lots of places of work, she had not seen the apply of pH testing extensively carried out. 5 We ought to be asking, why not? 

Caries administration

We all know that by educating our sufferers we are able to equip them with the prevention instruments. A protracted-standing apply is caries danger evaluation (CRA) and caries administration by danger evaluation (CAMBRA). Although we’ve refined this course of up to now 20 years, it’s thought of by many to be the usual of care to evaluate affected person danger and educate accordingly. Printed within the Journal of Dental Hygiene, a research by City and Rowe concluded, “CAMBRA protocol has not been extensively carried out in personal apply, though the present information don’t point out insurmountable obstacles.”6 There are a selection of high quality assets and research accessible at our fingertips if we solely take time to implement them into our clinics.  

In an April 2021 article, Featherstone et al. examine 4 of probably the most internationally acknowledged caries danger evaluation instruments—Cariogram, CAMBRA, American Dental Affiliation, and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry CRAs. If you wish to take a deep dive into discovering the perfect evaluation for you, learn their article.7 Gathering a baseline information of the affected person situation can help within the growth of a personalized, complete, caries danger and administration protocol.  

Along with assessing your sufferers’ present oral circumstances, objects you might talk about because it pertains to caries danger administration embody: 

  • Use of fluoride merchandise and different caries preventive brokers.
  • Food plan and consumption of sugary drinks and meals.
  • Historical past of dental illness and stability of a dental residence.
  • Systemic well being connections corresponding to chemo/radiation therapy, remedy use, consuming issues, alcohol, and/or drug use. 

The ADA has assets8 accessible to information you within the environment friendly formation and implementation of a protocol in your apply. Some assets embody find out how to implement9 a protocol, in addition to types for sufferers 0-6 years of age10 and over the age of 6.11 

A fast self-audit: perhaps you already implement this stuff, but when not, contemplate implementing a proper caries danger evaluation and administration program in your apply. Additionally, contemplate the methods you and your sufferers work as a staff to enhance their oral well being. We have now the instruments, and along with our sufferers, we are able to construct a plan for well being and success!


  1. Have you learnt your saliva pH? This is why it is vital. Colgate. Accessed February 6, 2022. https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/threats-to-dental-health/do-you-know-your-saliva-ph-heres-why-its-important
  2. Baliga S, Muglikar S, Kale R. Salivary pH: A diagnostic biomarker. J Indian Soc Periodontol. 2013;17(4):461-465. doi:10.4103/0972-124X.118317
  3. GC America. Saliva-check buffer–check for saliva high quality, pH and buffering capability directions to be used. GC America. Accessed February 6, 2022. https://www.gcamerica.com/merchandise/preventive/Saliva_Check_BUFFER/ 
  4. Oral DNA Labs. Oral Danger Caries. 2021. Accessed February 6, 2022. https://oraldna.com/check/ocaries/
  5. Hatfield S. A Story of Two Hygienists podcast. Tipisode: Are you testing your sufferers’ pH? February 4, 2022. https://www.ataleoftwohygienists.com/hear/tipisode-are-you-testing-your-patients-ph/
  6. City RA, Rowe DJ. Information, attitudes, and practices of dental hygienists relating to caries administration by danger evaluation. ADHA J Dent Hygiene. 2015;89(1):55-62. https://jdh.adha.org/content material/89/1/55.brief
  7. Featherstone JD, Crystal YO, Alston P, et al. A comparability of 4 caries danger evaluation strategies. Frontiers in Oral Well being. 2021;2. doi:10.3389/froh.2021.656558 
  8. Caries danger evaluation and administration. American Dental Affiliation. June 9, 2021. Accessed February 6, 2022. https://www.ada.org/assets/analysis/science-and-research-institute/oral-health-topics/caries-risk-assessment-and-management 
  9. ADA Caries Danger Evaluation Type Completion Directions. ADA. Accessed February 6, 2022. https://www.ada.org/-/media/challenge/ada-organization/ada/ada-org/recordsdata/assets/public-programs/give-kids-a-smile/gkas_caries_risk_assessment_forms.pdf
  10. Caries Danger Evaluation Type age 0-6. ADA. 2011. Accessed February 6, 2022. https://www.ada.org/-/media/challenge/ada-organization/ada/ada-org/recordsdata/assets/analysis/oral-health-topics/topics_caries_under6.pdf 
  11. ADA.org: Caries danger evaluation >6. Caries Danger Evaluation Type (Age >6). 2011. Accessed February 6, 2022. https://www.ada.org/-/media/challenge/ada-organization/ada/ada-org/recordsdata/assets/analysis/oral-health-topics/topic_caries_over6.pdf