A Comparison of the Effectiveness of Swabbing and Flossing as a Means of Recovering Spermatozoa from the Oral Cavity*

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Abstract

This study examined whether flossing the teeth is a more effective collection method in recovering spermatozoa than conventional swabbing techniques. It was hypothesized that inclusion of flossing as a collection method would extend the recovery of spermatozoa to longer postcoital intervals (PCIs). Eighteen individuals provided 174 oral cavity samples. Successful recovery of spermatozoa was assessed with respect to the collection method and reported activity in the oral cavity during the PCI. Samples were subjected to a differential extraction procedure prior to microscopic evaluation of the extracted pellet. The results indicate that swabbing is more effective than flossing when the PCI falls within 1.5–12 h. However, spermatozoa were recovered from seven floss samples where the corresponding swabs gave negative results. When combining the results from the two collection methods, the percentage of subjects from whom spermatozoa are recovered increases for each PCI beyond the 0-h interval.

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