Table 1

Advantages and disadvantages of saliva sampling

AdvantagesDisadvantages
Non-invasive approach for disease diagnosis and monitoring of general health.Not always reliable for measurement of certain markers.
Painless (no patient discomfort and anxiety for sampling).Contents of saliva can be influenced by the method of collection, degree of stimulation of salivary flow, interindividual variation and oral hygiene status.
Easy collection and applicable in remote areas.Serum markers can reach whole saliva in an unpredictable way.
Relatively cheap technology.Medications may affect salivary gland function and consequently the quantity and composition of saliva.
Cost-effective applicability for screening large populations.Possibility for degradation of salivary proteins due to presence of proteolytic enzymes.
Suitable for children, anxious/disabled/elderly patients.
Possible multisampling.
Safer collection for health professionals than other biological samples such as nasopharyngeal swabs and blood.
Cheap to store and ship.
Easy to handle.
No need for expensive equipment/instruments (swabs, suction tubes or special collection devices) for collection. Only needs a sterile container.