Suliman Ouda is a professor in the Department of Basic Oral and Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry in King Abdulaziz University.


Purpose: The present study was conducted on undergraduate dental students to asses and compares the levels of salivary stress biomarkers including cortisol, immulnoglobulin A and α-amylase enzyme during periods of academic assessments and non assessments and to relate these biomarkers to students' academic performance. Methods: Saliva samples were collected from undergraduate dental students; one before taking a final assessment exam and another during non assessment period. Salivary stress biomarkers concentrations were obtained using Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA). Results: The level of salivary stress biomarkers including s-cortisol, α-amylase and immulnoglobulin A significantly increased during periods of assessment exams as compared to non assessment (p=0,000, 0.001 and 0.003 consecutively). The study found a significant correlation between salivary α-amylase and academic performance especially among male students (p=0.008) and those in their final academic year (p=0.040). Conclusion: We conclude that the stress of academic assessment can markedly increase the level of salivary stress biomarkers. Students who show less academic performance generally depict higher levels of salivary α-amylase, especially male students and those in their final academic year.