What Is Mouth Swab Test?

Sometimes before hire, you need to go through the drug test. Of course, it is not always mandatory, but there are cases when it is a must. Employers are looking for drug-free workers, and even if you took the drug only once, a drug test could become a real surprise because you don’t have time for detox and afraid of being recognized as an active drug taker. The most common drug test method is a pee test. However, there are some cases when you need to go through another process called mouth swab test. 


Saliva or the so-called oral drug test has been invented to detect drugs during first few hours after their use. Many employers choose this method because you can conduct this test at the company site and it is possible to detect recent drug usage quickly. The time for standard urine test doesn’t suit the majority of employers. 

Oral test procedure

Saliva drug test is conducted with the help of a plastic stick with a small wad at the end and takes a couple of seconds. This type of analysis can be carried out by employers and legal authorities, so you cannot be sure when and where you might be asked to go through this test. The person who conducts the test dips the stick into your mouth for a few seconds and then places it into a special container for the testing. In a few minutes, results are ready. 

mouth swab

How this test works?

Your saliva sample is tested for the presence of several types of drugs. These include Opiates, THC, Amphetamines, Ecstasy, PCP, and Methamphetamine. The test allows determining whether you took drugs during 72 hours before the test or not. If you have taken drugs more than two days before this test, it will most likely show negative results.  

Is it accurate and what are detection times?

Medical community states that saliva drug tests are more accurate than standard urine. Moreover, you are confined to cheating possibilities and cannot replace your sample. The comfort of such test is that tested can be supervised without any limitations. However, it can be easily passed even if drug intake took place. People who are preparing for this type of test are trying to eliminate drug intake before testing by brushing teeth with toothpaste and additionally cleaning mouth with mouthwash removing the elements this test traces.  


The sample is analyzed using ELISA technology (enzyme-linked immunoassay technology) which can detect marijuana intake in 60% cases and other drugs, which are less sensitive, so urine test is not able to find them. Additionally, because it is fast, cheap and efficient, to confirm the results, it can be taken several times. 


Of course, there are limitations in the detection by an oral drug test, so it can detect a particular type of drugs in your saliva in the following period after you have taken them:


  • Meth and Amphetamines: 2 - 4 days 
  • Cocaine:  from 2 to 3 days
  • THC (marijuana): up to 24 hours
  • Phencyclidine:  up to 3 days
  • Opiates:  from 2 to 3 days