Saliva, the most available and non–invasive biofluid of the human body, permanently ‘bathes’ the oral cavity and is trying to cope with an ever–changing milieu. The oral cavity, a very complex and unique milieu due to its dual function, is the only place in the body where the mineralized tissue is exposed to the external environment in which there are complex interactions between various surfaces: host soft and hard tissues, food, air, and microorganisms. Saliva includes a large number of inorganic and organic compounds, which act as a ‘mirror of the body's health.’ In addition to its other functions, saliva could constitute the first line of defense against oxidative stress. Due to its composition and functions, saliva could have a significant role in controlling and/or modulating oxidative damages in the oral cavity. As a diagnostic fluid, saliva offers distinctive advantages over serum. Furthermore, saliva may provide a cost–effective approach for the screening of large populations. Gland–specific saliva can be used for diagnosis of pathology specific to one of the major salivary glands. Whole saliva, however, is most frequently used for diagnosis of systemic diseases.
As we enter the era of genomic medicine, sialochemistry will play an increasingly important role in the early detection, the monitoring and progression of the systemic and oral diseases. We reviewed the current data within literature and of our research concerning clinical potential of the saliva.
Keywords: saliva, diagnosis, systemic diseases, oral diseases, sialochemistry