The Dangers of Mouthwash


If you’re overusing mouthwash, you could have an increased risk for oral cancer.
Researchers studying this issue discovered that people who use alcohol-based mouthwash more than three times each day may have a greater chance of developing mouth or throat cancer, especially if they skip brushing and flossing.

Understanding oral cancer
Each year, about 40,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer. This type of cancer can affect the tongue, gums, throat or tissue under the tongue. Early diagnosis is the key for successful treatment of oral cancer; so most dental professionals check for signs of cancer during patients’ oral exams.

Tobacco and alcohol link
Several years ago, scientists discovered that, while anyone can develop oral cancer, people who use tobacco and consume heavy amounts of alcohol are at higher risk.

New research conducted at the University of Glasgow Dental School evaluated the oral health of 2,000 people with throat and mouth cancers and 2,000 people without oral cancer. The scientists wanted to find out if introducing new risk factors to these groups contributed to oral cancer. Aside from smoking, drinking and poor economic status, they found there was still a connection between poor oral health and higher incidences of oral cancer.

Oral cancer and mouthwash link
University of Glasgow researchers also determined that using mouthwash containing alcohol more than three times daily could contribute to the development of oral cancer. This study supported research conducted in 2009 in Australia. However, the American Dental Association (ADA) notes that the issue of mouthwashes containing alcohol, and whether it’s good or bad, has been debated for decades.

Tips for good oral health
Maintain good oral health by brushing and flossing daily, and using a mouthwash to kill bacteria and rinse out food particles. Consult your dentist for assistance in selecting the mouthwash that’s best for you.


Learn more about oral cancer from the following posts:
Brushing Teeth and Flossing May Lower Risk of Oral Cancer
On a Quest to Reduce Oral, Head and Neck Cancer


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