What is a Mouth Swab Drug Test

What is a mouth swab drug test? As per its name, it tests for any indications of alcohol or drugs that are present in your saliva. The mouth swab drug test is a swift and uncomplicated drug screening procedure that is easy to administer.

Today, we will discuss more on what exactly a mouth swab drug test is, why is it done and how can it impact you.

what is a mouth swab drug test

What Is A Mouth Swab Drug Test?

Like we’ve mentioned previously, a mouth swab drug test absorbs the saliva from your mouth before it is transported to a laboratory for additional testing to inspect for any indications of alcohol or drugs

There are two types of mouth swab drug tests that are available, the standard test we’ve mentioned earlier and the instant-read type. Under most circumstances in the United States, you would encounter the normal test rather than the instant-read type due to the fact that they are not approved under the Oral Fluid Mandatory Guidelines implemented by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMHSA.

How Do Mouth Swab Drug Tests Work?

With the mouth swab drug test, your saliva can be examined for traces of drugs such as methamphetamine, amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, alcohol, and other similar substances that have been consumed up to 48 hours prior to the test.

The various substances that can be identified with a saliva drug test would vary from test to test, generally depending on what the examiner, or employer, wants to check for. There isn’t much preparation required – all you need to do is to abstain from either eating or drinking for 10 minutes before getting screened. The results would generally take about 24 hours or so to be returned to you if sent to a laboratory.  

Mouth swab drug tests are reasonably priced when compared to several other testing processes. The collection of saliva is also a manageable process and analyzing saliva is not difficult. The saliva drug test also allows for on-site screening and thus boosts the efficiency of checking for traces of drugs in the saliva. That makes it evident as to why employers favor using this process of drug examination.

When Is A Mouth Swab Drug Test Needed?

For most situations, you would encounter a Mouth Swab Drug Test when applying for jobs. In a couple of industries, such as the transportation and safety industry, you would be obliged to undergo examination by law. Likewise, many government sector positions or federal jobs would expect you to undergo screening at the application stage. 

In the United States, there are separate laws with regard to drug testing that vary by state. Various states may limit or restrict the testing of indications of drugs, so it is most beneficial to do some research with regard to drug testing in your state. If you are residing outside of the United States, you should verify with your local law with regard to drug testing as well.

How Accurate Are Mouth Swab Drug Tests?

The accuracy of the mouth swab drug tests would vary based on a few factors. Some of these factors include the type of substance consumed, the usage frequency of the substance, the amount or concentration of the substance, as well as the sensitivity level of the test used. 

While there are many benefits to using the saliva drug test, the greatest limiting factor which can affect the accuracy of the test is that its time frame for testing. This means that if a person who uses a specific testable substance is aware that he or she needs to undergo testing on a certain day, he or she can simply avoid consuming the substance for a few days, in order for him or her to test clean. 

While it is not easy to do as such, it is not entirely impossible to manipulate the test results due to its short time frame. Nevertheless, mouth swab drug tests are still rather accurate in general, considering its simplicity and efficiency, though urine or blood tests may be more accurate as compared to the swab test.

When do Employers need To Use a Saliva Drug Test?

There are many reasons and events for employers to conduct a drug test. For most occasions, employers would need you to undergo a mouth swab drug test at the application stage and prior to a promotion. There may be occasional drug tests that are conducted randomly without any notice or warning, to check on the employees’ performance.

Other events in which a saliva drug test may be needed, include when an employee is under suspicion for substance abuse, as well as after an injury or accident at work. Employers, therefore, prefer the use of a mouth swab drug test due to its efficiency.

Do You Need Undergo A Mouth Swab Drug Test?

While you are not obliged to and employers are not allowed to force employees or applicants to undergo a drug test, there may be negative consequences or actions taken, such as revoking your job offer as an applicant or get suspended or terminated if you are an employee. 

If you are clean and feel that the results of the test are inaccurate, you can always request for a retest or get your results reviewed. You are also able to check the drug testing policy of the company as well.


A mouth swab drug test is a simple, quick, and efficient way to test for the presence of certain substances present in the saliva. There are limitations to the test, like any other, but it is considered one of the most effective methods to test for drugs. There are numerous regulations with regard to the screening, so you should ensure that you check the local laws prior to the examination. It is best to sit for the test if you are unquestionably positive that you are clean, in order to prevent negative consequences and pass your drug test without any hiccups.

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