Background: Nerve growth factor (NGF), a neurotrophin, modulates a diverse set of physiologic processes in the nervous, immune, and endocrine systems. Studies suggest that NGF can be measured in saliva (sNGF). Historically, the method for measuring sNGF involves the off-label use of an enzyme immunoassay designed for use with cell-culture supernatants/tissue extracts. In a series of experiments we reveal this measurement strategy is subject to non-specific interference by constituents present in oral fluids. We conclude that the measurement of sNGF by this assay is not optimal for use with oral fluid specimens.