Toothpicks are generally used to remove food particles between teeth, in the process, epithelial cells from the gum are collected on the surface of toothpick. The cells contains significant good amount of DNA that can be used for several analysis and investigations. They are easy to collect and store, are non-infectious, and contain significant high quality DNA. However, they suffer from a high contamination rate as most people throw the toothpick away immediately after use. Small amounts of sample can be obtained from the toothpick which might not be adequate for analysis.

How to Collect Toothpicks for DNA testing

1. A recently used toothpick is recommended.

2. The toothpick should not be contaminated with food particles and they provide favourable environment for bacterial growth that can degrade the DNA.

3. Cover your hands with gloves or sterile plastic paper.

4. Pick a recently used toothpick and place it inside a clean/sterile envelope and seal the envelope. Ensure the toothpick doesn’t come into contact with your skin, this may contaminate the sample with your dna.

5. Label accordingly (name, collection date, relationship).

6. Send to the laboratory for analysis.

DNA Testing Process

Acceptable DNA Samples


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