Does Mouthwash Increase the Risk of Oral Cancer?
A risk simply means that there is an increased risk to a disease, but does not mean that it is a cause of a disease. For instance, if a substance produces a weakening in the body's natural ability to fight disease, than it would be termed a risk factor. Mouthwash has been promoted for years as a way to improve the health of the mouth. However, with the high amounts of alcohol in many mouthwashes, there has been substantive evidence that has raised the concerns of researchers regarding the safety of mouthwash. There have been studies that have shown that mouthwash could increase the chances of oral cancer.
The ethanol in mouthwash is thought to allow cancer-causing substances to permeate the lining of the mouth more easily and cause harm.
Acetaldehyde, a toxic by-product of alcohol that may accumulate in the oral cavity when swished around the mouth, is also believed to be carcinogenic.
Some mouthwash contains as much as 26 percent alcohol.
The University of Maryland reveals,
Some studies have shown that mouthwash with alcohol content increases the risk for oral cancer. In addition, other studies have shown that smokers and people who drink alcohol tend to use mouthwash more often, linking all three factors together.
The American Cancer Society mentions the concerns toward mouthwash being a risk factor for oral cancer. However, they state that the concerns are uncertain, unproven and controversial, albeit worthy of mention.
Some studies have suggested that mouthwash with high alcohol content might be linked to a higher risk of oral and oropharyngeal cancers. But recent research has questioned these results. Studying this possible link is complicated by the fact that smokers and frequent drinkers (who are already at increased risk of these cancers) are more likely to use mouthwash than people who neither smoke nor drink.
Whether or not mouthwash is a cause of oral cancer, is certainly being debated as there are controversial opinions on the matter. However, if a risk factor means that the guards that could protect a patient from acquiring oral cancer are reduced than the risks for oral cancer are certainly in question. The Australian Dental Association has the question on their radar as well. They sum up the controversy nicely with the below:
"The most significant difference (between alcohol and alcohol-containing mouthwash) is that one is for pleasure and the other is being recommended as a health product.''
Cancer Council NSW chief executive Andrew Penman said the review was "interesting'', but called for further research.
"I think it's quite a well-thought-out proposition, but it does warrant further investigation,'' he said.
- Oral Cancer
One person every hour of every day dies from oral cancer, which is equivalent to over 8,000 people a year in The United States alone. The Fight Oral Cancer Foundation is a non profit organization dedicated to fighting oral cancer through awareness.
- Fox News
Study Links Mouthwash Ingredient to Oral Cancer, Mouthwash that contains alcohol has been linked to cancer, a study found. The study, published in the Australian Dental Journal, concludes there is``sufficient evidence'' that alcohol-containing mouthw
- University of Maryland
Oral cancer is cancer found in the oral cavity (the mouth area) and the oropharynx (the throat area at the back of the mouth).
- Australian Dental Association
AUSTRALIA'S top-selling mouthwashes can cause oral cancer and should be pulled from supermarket shelves immediately.
- American Cancer Society