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What Is a Mouth Swab Drug Test?

A mouth swab drug test can detect whether you have illicit or prescription drugs in your system. If you’re planning to have a mouth swab drug test or want a loved one to take this test, it may help to know how they work, which substances they can detect, and how you can find a quality mouth swab drug testing provider in your area.

What Is a Mouth Swab Drug Test?

A mouth swab drug test can detect whether you have illicit or prescription drugs in your system. If you’re planning to have a mouth swab drug test or want a loved one to take this test, it may help to know how they work, which substances they can detect, and how you can find a quality mouth swab drug testing provider in your area.

What is a mouth swab drug test?

A mouth swab drug test is used to detect the presence of drugs in your system. Also known as a cheek swab drug test or saliva drug test, a mouth swab test uses a sample of your saliva or oral fluids to check for drug use.

What substances can mouth swab drug tests detect?

A mouth swab drug test can detect a wide range of drugs and substances. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a saliva drug test can detect:

  • Marijuana and THC
  • Opioids, including heroin, fentanyl, oxycodone, and hydrocodone
  • Amphetamines, including methamphetamine
  • Cocaine
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Barbiturates
  • Alcohol
  • PCP
  • Steroids

What is the detection window for a mouth swab drug test?

The detection window for a mouth swab drug test is based on factors, including the type of drug that was used and the brand of drug test being used, according to Medline.

According to a 2004 study published in Therapeutic Drug Monitoring, a drug test through saliva offers a detection window of between five and 48 hours. This means it can tell whether you used drugs at some point during the last two days.

In regards to the detection window for specific substances, results from a 2011 study published in the Journal of Forensic Research show that cocaine may only be detected for up to 17 hours using a mouth swab drug test. Opioids are shown to have a longer detection window of between one and four days.

How long can a swab test detect THC?

THC is the acronym for tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the psychoactive compound in marijuana that makes its users feel high. Researchers who led the previously mentioned study published in the Journal of Forensic Research found that THC may be detected in a mouth swab test for up to 30 hours, though some tests show it can be detected only for two to 10 hours.

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How does a mouth swab drug test work?

A mouth swab drug test can show whether you recently used drugs. All it requires is a small amount of your saliva or oral fluids. Your fluid sample is then sent to a lab, where it is evaluated carefully by lab technicians who can determine the type of drugs or substances you have used within the last few days.

How is mouth swab testing performed?

Mouth swab testing is performed as a quick and simple cheek swab test that takes no more than a few minutes. According to an article published in an issue of Corrections Today, a lab technician uses a collection stick to swab the inside of your cheek. The collection stick usually has a sponge or pad at the end to help prevent you from feeling any discomfort during the test.

After a sample of your oral fluid is collected, it is taken to the lab for drug detection and evaluation. To learn more about how to do a cheek swab drug test, use Solv to locate the contact information of a lab testing provider near you. A lab test provider will be able to answer any questions you may have about its cheek swab drug test before your appointment.

Analyzing results

Typically, after your saliva sample is sent to the lab, a technician will analyze your sample to look for the presence of specific drug metabolites or biomarkers. Drug metabolites are the byproducts of a drug that remain after being broken down and metabolized by your body.

Each type of drug produces its own set of metabolites. According to a 2007 study published in Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, a lab technician who is looking for signs of methamphetamine use will look for a biomarker called p-hydroxymethamphetamine. A lab technician testing a saliva sample for marijuana use would look for the 11-hydroxy-THC and THCCOOH biomarkers, which are metabolites of THC.

Inconclusive results

Mouth swab drug tests are typically highly accurate and rarely return inconclusive results. If your test results are deemed inconclusive for any reason, your doctor or the test provider may recommend coming back to do another test.

How accurate is a mouth swab drug test?

According to a 2018 study published in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology, most mouth swab drug tests produce accuracy rates between 97.5% and 100%. The saliva-testing provider may be able to provide you with more insight regarding the accuracy of its tests at the time of your appointment.

When is a mouth swab drug test required?

According to the NIH, a mouth swab drug test may be required as part of an employment agreement or if you want to play sports for an organization. Drug testing may also be necessary for a court case or to ensure you are using your medications appropriately if taking opioids or benzodiazepines.

  • How accurate are saliva drug tests?

    A saliva drug test is another name for a mouth swab drug test. Researchers who led a 2018 study published in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology say that the accuracy of saliva drug tests ranges between 97.5% and 100%.

  • How long do 5-panel drug test results take?

    Results from a 5-panel drug test may come back anywhere within 24 hours to several business days, depending on lab turnaround times. Your drug test provider can give you a more specific answer regarding how long it will take for the results.

  • How long does it take to get results from a 10-panel drug test?

    Results from a 10-panel drug test may take longer to come back than results from a 5-panel drug test, given how it tests for twice as many substances. Your drug test provider can give you a realistic expectation regarding when to expect to receive your test results.

  • Where can I take a mouth swab drug test?

    You can take a mouth swab drug test at a walk-in clinic or urgent care center that offers drug testing. Type “drug test near me” into your favorite Internet search engine to find a nearby test provider, or use Solv to locate the most reputable, highly-rated drug testing providers in your area. Solv strives to provide you and your family with hassle-free access to healthcare and lab testing.

6 Sources

Solv has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.