Technology to Salivate About: Lura Health Brings Salivary Diagnostics to Dentistry

by Lou Shuman, DMD, CAGS, CEO and Founder of Cellerant Consulting

Lura Health

As a consultant who is exposed to many new technologies, I can sense that this innovation from Lura Health is going to have a significant impact in dentistry. This ingenious company will soon debut a Bluetooth-enabled salivary diagnostic sensor that can be imbedded into orthodontic appliances such as aligners, retainers, and bands, or bonded to a tooth directly. Why test saliva? It is a rich and concentrated diagnostic fluid that can indicate levels of pH and other body chemicals that affect oral and medical health and even can help monitor aligner-wear compliance.

Acidity (pH) monitoring can be integral to maintaining oral health – acid can cause irreversible damage to teeth. If demineralization can be detected, monitored, and prevented early through pH detection, it’s possible to avoid damage. Also, some reports show approximately half of implants, crowns, and other restoratives fail because of poor oral hygiene. This biosensor can track the health of an implant by monitoring the patient’s hygiene data. By being able to receive real-time health alerts, patients and practitioners can quickly be proactive and take action on any imbalance, protecting their often expensive investment. In the future, potentially markers can be added to indicate periodontal disease, inflammation, caries, biofilm, or even oral cancers.

The Lura Health biosensor can test pH in real-time, which is more proactive than the one-time samplings obtained by drooling into a tube and sending a sample to a lab. Imbedding the sensor into an aligner or retainer is convenient for the patient because aligners are easily removable for eating, drinking, and brushing. The sensor can be integrated into any brand of aligners, so this technology can be accessible no matter which one is the practice’s favorite. But for those who don’t need any kind of aligner, the sensor can be integrated into a small pad and cemented onto a tooth just like an orthodontic bracket or band. When testing, if acidity levels are high, patients can receive preventative alerts, and dentists can access information from feedback on the Lura Health app.

Lura Health

Looking ahead, applications for this new technology can extend to any information obtained through blood testing – such as indicators like glucose for diabetes, sodium and potassium for hypertension, heart disease, and kidney disease. Dentists will be able to collaborate more with physicians regarding oral/systemic health links by monitoring saliva in real-time with an oral appliance containing the Lura Health sensor. This smart device will rule the drool – and make testing technology accessible, easy, and efficient in the years ahead.

About the Author

Lou Shuman is the CEO of Cellerant Consulting Group, dentistry’s leading corporate incubator and accelerator. He is a venturer in-residence at Harvard’s i-Lab, co-founder of LightForce Orthodontics, a member of the Oral Health advisory board and founder of the Cellerant Best of Class Technology Awards. He was selected in 2021 by Global Summits Institute one of the World’s Top 100 Doctors.