How Does Oral Fluid Testing Work?

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Published on Apr 19th, 2021

When considering using an oral fluid drug detection device, there are a few things you need to pay attention to. First of all, make sure it includes an indicator which helps you know when you have enough of a saliva sample for the oral test to read accurately. Also, if you have always used urine tests and aren't sure about how saliva tests stack up, rest assured, Saliva screening tests can detect substances as fast and as accurately as urine tests.

When you opt for an oral fluid collection device with a color indicator, the indicator color change will notify the donor that enough saliva has been collected to run the test without error. Many swab testing devices lack this special feature, so it is important to choose an oral fluid drug test kit that can make sure there is a smaller risk of false results due to insufficient specimen collection.

Compared to other drug testing methods, oral fluid testing is an easiest method to the administer; no bathroom is required to collect a specimen, and little training is required to increase accuracy.

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What drugs can an Oral fluid test detect?

An oral fluid test kit can detect up to 14 different drugs. There are many different configurations to choose from, so it really depends on what you want to test for, and how many of those on you want to screen for on the same test. Below are the drugs of abuse that can be detected within different panels of a mouth swab test:

  • Alcohol (ALC)
  • Amphetamines (AMP)
  • Barbiturates (BAR)
  • Benzodiazepines (BZO)
  • Buprenorphine (BUP)
  • Cocaine (COC)
  • Fentanyl (FEN)
  • Marijuana (THC)
  • Methadone (MTD)
  • Methamphetamines (mAMP)
  • Opiates (OPI)
  • Oxycodone (OXY)
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Synthetic Marijuana (K2/Spice)

How is Saliva Test Performed?

A third-party administrator will provide the donor with the swab component of the drug test, which resembles a sponge or a lollipop.

The donor will be instructed to rub the swab against their cheeks or under their tongue until a sufficient saliva specimen is collected. This process usually takes approximately 2 minutes.

The donor will return the saturated swab to the collector. The collector will insert the swab into the collection container to run the test panels.

Wait 10 minutes. The saliva will saturate the panels to reveal the colored lines, indicating positive or negative drug test results (see below for further interpretation of results). Simple.

How to Read an Oral Fluid Drug Test

Oral fluid test results are easy to interpret. Negative and positive results are displayed on each drug panel with colored lines:

Negative saliva drug test

Positive saliva drug test

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Produce Saliva Fast enough for the mouth swab device?

Some oral fluid devices are flavored to encourage saliva flow without impeding results. SalivaConfirm oral fluid test kits are equipped with a minty tip for donors who cannot produce saliva quickly. This feature expedites the turnaround time of the test itself, which may be helpful during random, on-the-spot, and post-accident drug testing.

How Far Back Does an Oral fluid drug test Go?

Within minutes, the mouth swab can determine if someone has used drug(s) in the past 3-24 hours. Saliva specimens offer the shortest detection window, which is ideal for reasonable suspicion testing.

Are Oral Drug Tests Accurate?

Oral fluid tests are very dependable point-of-care tests (POCT). Staffing and recruiting professionals prefer to issue oral drug test kits for candidate screening. Occupational safety managers who demand full-time sobriety can also benefit from using saliva drug tests.

However, if you do require assistance, Confirm offers training guides and whitepapers to show you how to operate your saliva drug tests. Plus, our customer service team is always here to help.

How to pass a Oral fluid drug test?

It’s virtually impossible to adulterate an oral fluid test kit because an unbiased collector must be present at all times during the collection procedure. Even forums that advocate for artificial saliva use do not understand the accuracy and integrity of saliva drug tests. Cheating methods that will not work include:

  • Raking the tongue with a toothbrush
  • Hydrogen peroxide mouthwash
  • Minty toothpaste or sucking on breath mints
  • Drinking water

How long does THC stay in your saliva?

Marijuana metabolites, i.e. THC, can be detected in saliva samples for up to 24 hours, although the average detection window is 6-12 hours post-use.

As to whether CBD will show up on a drug test: the answer is no. CBD is not metabolized by the body the same way as THC, and so saliva drug tests are not calibrated to detect cannabinoid oil.

Benefits of Oral Fluid Testing over Urine Testing

Oral Fluid Testing is the right solution if trying to screen for recent substance use, since saliva samples contain a higher percentage of the parent drug, compared to urine that measures only the by-product metabolites. Depending on the type of drug(s) used and drug cutoff levels, drug detection times for saliva drug test kits are shorter (between 6 hours and 3 days) compared to urine drug tests or hair follicle drug tests.

Oral drug test kits are very donor and administrator friendly. Oral fluid drug testing is non-invasive and allows for easy, supervised specimen collection. There is no need for the privacy of a bathroom, so it is virtually impossible to cheat a saliva drug test. Urine drug testing requires a bathroom for private specimen collection, and allows the individual the opportunity to tamper with the test.

Oral fluid testing is a great tool for employers to use at a workplace in order to facilitate a systematic drug check up ranging from pre-employment to post accident.

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