How Long Do Drugs Stay in Your Saliva: Drug Test Remedies

how long do drugs stay in your saliva

In the recent years, saliva drug testing has gained huge popularity. That’s because your oral fluid provides a non-invasive specimen that can be used to test for traces of different drugs immediately after use. With advancement in technology, the test produces immediate answers and has potentially wide applications.

The detection window for saliva drug testing is quite narrow and varies greatly depending on the substance under scrutiny. The detectability also depends on personal characteristics, method of use, and various other attributes. In essence, the time ranges from a few seconds to 4 days after ingestion.

Read on to learn more about saliva detection times, how mouth swabs work, and how you can pass saliva drug tests using different home remedies.

How Long Do Drugs Stay in Your Saliva?

Drugs are detected in saliva either from direct deposition in the mouth or through the transfer from the blood stream after ingestion and absorption. The good thing is that drug metabolites don’t last too long in saliva. For instance:

Alcohol in Your Saliva

The body metabolizes alcohol into ethanol, a substance that is easily eliminated. But, a saliva test can identify ethanol in a span of one minute to 12 hours, long after your body has metabolized the drinks.

Amphetamine and Meth in Your Saliva

Meth and its byproducts can be detected as soon as five minutes after use and up to four days later for chronic users.

Cocaine in Your Saliva

The detection window for cocaine is typically quite short ranging from about five minutes to 24 hours. Its metabolites, like ecgonine methyl ester and benzoylecgonine, can remain in the saliva for about 48 hours to 72 hours.

Opiates in Your Saliva

Opioids including heroin has its peak concentrations in the saliva within two to five minutes. Even so, a saliva test cannot detect opiates past 24 hours after use.

Marijuana in Your Saliva

Unlike urine tests that screen for the metabolite THC-COOH, saliva tests look for THC itself. That is because, THC can remain in the saliva even before it is metabolized in the body. Oral swabs can identify marijuana use with the last 24 hours.

MDMA in Your Saliva

It can be screened via its metabolites, 4-hydroxy-3-methoxymethamphetamine (HMMA), 3, 4-methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA), and 4-hydroxy-3-methoxyamphetamine (HMA). It can be noted from about one hour after use and most traces will be gone within 24 hours.

Factors That Determine How Long Drugs Will Stay in Your Saliva

The amount of time that drug metabolites remain in your saliva depends on the following aspects:

Metabolic Rates

People with higher metabolic rates can eliminate drugs from the body more quickly than those with slower ones. Note that your metabolism can be influenced by age, physical activity, gender, and certain health conditions.


Dehydration can increase the concentration of the metabolites in your saliva. Sipping water throughout the day can help in diluting them.

Type of Drug Used

Some drugs tend to remain in the body longer than others. For instance, opiates have a longer detection time than alcohol. Also, the strength of the drug will influence the detection. So, if you use more concentrated drugs, the metabolites in your saliva will be higher.

Frequency of Use

The length of time that metabolites remain in the saliva is affected by how often an individual uses them and how long you have been using. Substances can be detected for longer periods in individuals who’ve been using the substance for long and frequently.

Drug Tolerance

If you have built up a tolerance for the substance, it tends to metabolize quickly. Therefore, the length of time the metabolites can be detected in your saliva becomes short.

Common Drugs Tested with Saliva

An oral fluid test can detect different drugs such as:

  • Alcohol
  • Amphetamines
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Buprenorphine
  • Cocaine
  • Fentanyl
  • Marijuana
  • Methadone
  • Methamphetamines
  • Opiates
  • Oxycodone
  • Synthetic marijuana (spice/K2)

How to Pass a Saliva Drug Test with Home Remedies

If you have a few days warning, abstaining might give your body enough time to clear the drugs from your saliva. You can also include the following home remedies to pass the test:

Drink Water

This will not only detoxify your body but will also help in diluting the concentration of drugs in your oral fluids. Besides, it will boost the secretion of fresh saliva with a lower drug concentration.

Add Fatty Foods in Your Diet

Particularly if the test is for THC, adding high-fat foods to your meal can help you pass the test. THC can bind to fat and therefore can be flushed out easily.

Brush Three Times a Day

If you have a day or two before your test, try to brush at least thrice a day. Good oral hygiene will help in removing or lessening the lingering metabolites in your mouth.

Swish with Mouthwash

Mouthwash can lower the amount of metabolites in your oral fluids. But, you should avoid alcohol-based mouthwashes because they can trigger a false positive if you’re tasted for alcohol.

Rinse with Hydrogen Peroxide

Peroxide is also known as the saliva test adulterant. It can interfere with the test’s ability to detect the drugs in your saliva accurately. Take a gulp of hydrogen peroxide, swish it for 30 minutes, and spit it.

Use Vinegar

You can mix a tablespoon of vinegar in a cup of water and drink it. Vinegar has low pH that makes your saliva more acidic. This can lead to more saliva production and hence dilutes any traces of metabolites in your mouth.

Essential Notes:

Inconclusive results- In some instances, the lab examiners can declare a mouth swab result as inconclusive. This usually occurs when there is evidence that your oral fluids are more diluted than the norm. It can raise suspicions because it is a sign that you might have tried to tamper with the saliva to mask drug use.

Prescriptions– some prescription drugs may show up on the test. Hence, any medication should be disclosed at the time of testing. For instance, the painkiller codeine can show up as an opiate and therefore produce a non-negative result.

Bottom line

Saliva drug tests have become a popular screening method because they are easy to use and specimens are a lot harder to tamper with. Since substances do not stay in oral fluid for long, this testing is ideal for short detection window.

Mouth swabs tests can detect substances sooner after ingestion than other tests can, but you can use the remedies mentioned above to help you pass the test.

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