There are a range of oral swabs on the market in a variety of colours, the most common and recognised colours are pink and green. Sponge swabs are meant to moisten the oral cavity, help loosen sticky mucus secretions, food debris and thickened saliva. They are not effective at removing plaque from the teeth and gums and should not be a substitute for a toothbrush.
Since 2012 Mouth Care Swabs are on a Medical Device Alert (MDA/2012/020) and their use are banned in Wales following a fatality when the sponge head became detached and dislodge in a patients mouth.
There have been over 800 safety incidents reported since April 2008 whereby the sponge head has come off either because it has become loose or because the resident/patient has bitten down on the sponge.