The saliva holds a lot of chemical cues about the state of the rest of the human body, so researchers at University of California, San Diego are working on sensor technology that can be integrated into mouth guards to track these cues. In the latest issue of Biosensors and Bioelectronics, the researchers are reporting on a sensor that is able to detect uric acid in saliva with precision similar to the standard blood draws.

The sensor has been integrated into a prototype mouth guard that also contains a battery, additional electronics, and a Bluetooth chip for wirelessly transmitting readings to a smartphone or other device.

So far the team tested the sensor with saliva samples from healthy volunteers, as well as a hyperuricemic patient who was further treated with Allopurinol. The new sensor detected normal levels of uric acid in healthy persons, while the saliva of the patient with high uric acid was validated to be so. Moreover, the sensor was able to detect the dropping of uric acid as the Allopurinol took effect.

The researchers will next move to having people actually wear the mouth guard sensor rather than transferring the saliva onto it, as well as expanding the device’s tracking capabilities to include markers like glucose, lactate, and cortisol.

Study in Biosensors and Bioelectronics: Wearable salivary uric acid mouthguard biosensor with integrated wireless electronics…

Source: UC San Diego…