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What can affect a saliva drug test?



The saliva drug test has become increasingly popular as an alternative matrix to urine for testing drugs of abuse during recent years. It is simple and easier to collect and offers a non-invasive means of sample collection that can be applied for use in workplaces, hospitals, drug treatment centers and at roadsides. A mouth swab drug test may be conducted onsite, including in an office, at the scene of an accident, at a dedicated lab or specimen collection site.

The individual being screened may be asked not to eat or drink anything for 10 minutes before the test is administered to ensure better accuracy. Food, beverages, medication, and mouthwash can all interfere with accurate saliva drug test results.

The specimen will either be instantly analyzed onsite or sent to a lab to determine if traces of controlled substances are present in the individual’s body.

Vinegar, coffee, cola, fruit juice, oranges, spicy food and toothpaste are all capable of affecting the assay system to produce presumptive positive results. Most manufacturers of drug tests indicate that the effects of foods and beverages have dispersed from the mouth after 10–15 min, and that after this time has elapsed, an oral fluid sample can be collected with minimum risk of contamination.

A mouth swab drug test is relatively accurate—but only when used correctly. Mouth swabs are also typically conducted by an administrator or under supervision, making it more difficult for the person being tested to tamper with the specimen.

Accuracy can vary between instant oral fluid testing kits, instant oral fluid testing devices, and lab testing.

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