UCSD mouth guard

Saliva can be a key diagnostic fluid; healthcare workers can collect it without an invasive procedure such as a blood draw. Doctors and researchers believe that saliva or spit has information related to a person’s health as well as valuable biological information. Researchers at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) are in the process testing a wearable sensor based mouth guard that would track chemicals in saliva that are related to fatigue and other health issues.

The mouthguard can monitor health markers, such as lactate, cortisol and uric acid, in saliva and transmit this information to a connected device such as laptop, smart phone and/or tablet. This mouth guard includes Bluetooth 4.0 wireless link for data transmission. The bio sensor is used to monitor salivary uric acid, which is also an identifier for diabetes and gout, in real time. This sensor is designed by a team of nano engineers and electrical engineers from UCSD’s Center for Wearable Sensors. The sensor is screen-printed using silver, Prussian blue ink, and uricase, an enzyme that reacts with uric acid. If uric acid is found in saliva, chemical reaction will be detected by the Prussian blue ink and the information will be transmitted to an electronic board as electrical signals via metallic strips that are part of the sensor. The sensor uses small chips to sense and digitize the information of the sensors and transmit it wirelessly to a connected devices.

The mouth guard is still in its initial phase and engineers will be spend time to ensure everything functions as it should as well as ensure that materials are safe to be used in human mouth. This technology can be used to monitor patients continuously without invasive procedures and extensive tests. Other uses of this mouth guard can be to monitor athletes’ performance or stress levels in soldiers and pilots.