Can Mouthwash With Alcohol Make Me Fail My Drug Test?

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Mouthwash is known to contain alcohol and certain brands of mouthwash may even result in false readings on breathalyzers. For instance, if you wash your mouth with Listerine right before a breath test, your breathalyzer result will be higher than 75 which is 9 times over the legal limit. This can be distressing if you have to get tested as per legal guidelines or as a pre-employment obligation. Using mouth alcohol may result in high concentrations of mouth alcohol in your breath. Breathalyzer machines cannot differentiate between mouth and blood alcohol and therefore the results will read as positive. Let us know more about mouth alcohol and drug and alcohol testing here.

What is mouth alcohol?

These machines are designed keeping in mind that an inebriated person’s breath has miniscule levels of alcohol and can measure even the tiniest particles of alcohol in one’s breath. A drunk person has lesser concentration of alcohol particles in their mouth. This is because it is produced by their lungs after absorbing them from the bloodstream.

When it comes to raw alcohol however, breathalyser readings are more clear. 

When raw alcohol, (let us take mouthwash as an example in this instance) comes in contact with a person’s throat or mouth, a tiny amount of that alcohol gets absorbed by their saliva, under their tongue, in their teeth or any food they have in their mouth. They can produce fumes that have higher alcohol concentration than the ones produced by the breath of one who has consumed alcohol recently. Any concentrated alcohol found in saliva is known as “mouth alcohol”.

Mouth alcohol is known to be more potent than blood alcohol. Unfortunatley, breathalyzers cannot pinpoint the difference between blood and mouth alcohol.

Does mouth alcohol last long?

Mouth alcohol, as mentioned before is entirely different from blood alcohol. Mouth alcohol can disappear really quickly unlike blood alcohol. Mouth alcohol particles can disappear within 20 to 30 minutes after coming into contact with one’s saliva or mouth.

Can breathalyzers differentiate between mouthwash and alcohol?

Most breathalyzer machines cannot differentiate between mouth alcohol and blood alcohol concentrations entirely. Portable breathalyzer machines used by officers will not pinpoint mouth alcohol at all. Ignition interlock devices used for DUI conviction, also cannot differentiate between mouth and blood alcohol.

However, even though it may be distressing, there are ways to prove that you are not under the influence of alcohol. Down below is a table differentiating between one using mouth alcohol and one who is actually inebriated.

One who has used mouthwash recentlyOne who is under the influence of alcohol
Mouth alcohol can result in a rapid decrease in breathalyser readings for blood alcohol. If a person who has used mouthwash recently shows a .75 reading, they are bound to show a 0.00 reading after 30 minutes. A person under the influence of alcohol might read .08 in the breathalyser and will take a minimum of 8 to 12 hours to reach a 0.00. Therefore, a police officer can determine if the person is inebriated by retesting them 30 minutes later

Aside from retesting, police officers also use ignition interlocks to retest 5 minutes after a breath test fails. If the first test read positive due to mouth alcohol, the retest will determine is the person is actually under the influence of alcohol. If you fail ignition interlock tests and have not been drinking, ask for a retest.

Why choose Affordable Rapid Testing, AZ for accurate test results 

A failed result after drug testing can be alarming especially for a pre-employment drug test or if you have a legal obligation to get tested especially if you have no fault of your own. Most reliable test centers will take the necessary means to retest such cases. If you are in Phoenix or Scottsdale, AZ, you should avail Affordable rapid Testing’s top-notch drug testing/screening services for utmost accuracy. Check out their website now if you want to know more about them. 

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