could your mouth wash cause oral cancer?

Alongside tooth brushing and flossing many people add a mouthwash to their daily routine – but not all mouthwashes are equal!

Scientific studies have determined that Australia’s top-selling mouthwashes can cause oral cancer. The review that was published in the Dental Journal of Australia concluded that there is now sufficient evidence that mouthwashes containing alcohol significantly contribute to the increased risk of oral cancer. Alarmingly, there have been several more supporting studies that confirm an increased risk of oral cancer irrespective of whether users smoked or drank alcohol.

The cause is twofold: firstly, the ethanol content is thought to allow cancer-causing substances to pass more easily through gum tissue, causing harm. Secondly, acetaldehyde is a by-product of alcohol and is a cancer-causing substance that can accumulate when mouthwashes are swished around mouth.  

Listerine is Australia’s biggest selling mouthwash and contains as much as 26% alcohol, and indeed most popular mouth washes do contain alcohol.  Since the release of this study there have been calls for warnings to be included on the labels of mouthwashes containing alcohol. 

It is important to be aware of any changes to your oral mucosa or throat, and ensure you get an oral heath check if you have any concerns. If you are using a mouthwash containing alcohol, it is worth considering changing to an alchohol –free mouthwash.. The staff at bc dental can help you find the best product for your needs.