Welcome to the Exeter Clinical Laboratory International website
NHS logo

Mouth Swab Culture


Specimens may not be processed if there is a lack of clinical details. Please consider if samples are clinically required and would change management. 


Culture of Mouth swabs for the isolation and identification of Bacterial and/or Fungal Pathogens.

Antimicrobial sensitivity testing is performed as appropriate.


To determine the presence of Bacterial and/or Fungal pathogens which may be causing an infection.


Mouth Swab

Specimen Container

Charcoal Swab

To Request On EPIC

For electronic requesting using EPIC (RDUH ONLY):

Search for: ‘Mouth Swab MC&S‘ or test code ‘LAB228

Special Instructions

Please provide relevant clinical details with the request, this helps the lab process the sample correctly and provide the best result for the patient:

Please state the site of swab.

Please state clearly the following: whether the patient is diabetic, if the patient is immunocompromised, current and recent antibiotic therapy.

Are you suspecting oral thrush? Does the patient have a wound or ulcer in their mouth?

Please do not repeat in under 48 hours.

Specimen Collection

  1. Where possible specimens should be collected before starting any antimicrobial therapy.
  2. It is advisable that patients should not eat or drink within, brush their teeth or use any mouth rinse or disinfectant within 2 hours prior to sampling.
  3. Use aseptic technique.
  4. Sample any lesions or inflamed areas. Denture fitting surfaces should also be swabbed as these give a better recovery of Candida species than the palatal mucosa.
  5. Immediately after collection the swab should be returned to its plastic sheath (placed into the transport medium.)
  6. Label the sample with at least three identifiers (Name, D.O.B & NHS or Hospital No.) and place into a specimen bag.
  7. Transport to the laboratory as soon as possible.
  8. If transport is delayed, refrigeration is preferable to storage at ambient temperature.


Tested in house at RD&E

Turnaround Time

48– 72 Hours

Specimen Labelling Procedure
University of Exeter logo
UKAS Medical logo


Royal Devon University Healthcare logo