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Look For This Ingredient In a Mouthwash and Avoid Oral Cancer

Armen Hareyan's picture
Mouthwash and oral cancer risk

Some types of mouthwash are directly linked to oral cancer. This dentist talks about the benefits of using a mouthwash verse a toothbrush, but also makes two strong recommendations. There is a particular single ingredients he wants you to avoid at all costs when using a mouthwash.

A recent large study conducted by the researchers at the University of Glasgow Dental School has identified new risk factors for upper aerodigestive tract cancer (cancer of the mouth, larynx, pharynx and esophagus). The study was a part of a Europe-wide collaboration, which was co-ordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and led by the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology – BIPS in Bremen, Germany. The study suggests that "excessive use of mouthwash may also cause this particular form of cancer. Excessive use is defined as more than three times a day."

EmaxHealth asked Dr. Kourosh Maddahi, author of Anti-Aging Dentistry and a cosmetic dentist in Beverly Hills, CA to comment on the study. Here is what Dr. Maddahi sent to EmaxHealth in a written statement.

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It is not a little known fact that alcohol is terrible for oral health. It not only affects the molecular structure of oral tissue, possibly causing cancer over time, but it is also attributed to drying of the mouth which could contribute to bad breath. So why is it in your mouthwash? There isn't enough research to support mouthwash actually causing cancer in the mouth, but considering the aforementioned side effects of alcohol, it’s no surprise that the link is being suggested with mouthwashes that contain it. There are, however many benefits to mouthwash that just brushing and flossing alone won't cover. Because it’s a liquid and can be used to pull the bacteria from spaces that are otherwise difficult to reach, and it can give the gums nutrients that they are lacking.

I'm sure you've seen the current health trend to do with oral pulling. It’s the action of rinsing one’s mouth with beneficial oils and antiseptics to get rid of unwanted bacteria and also help the tissues in the mouth to absorb these elements for overall oral health. I have begun developing a mouthwash (along with other dental products) with this in mind. There are many natural ingredients that can be used to kill the bad bacteria in the mouth that cause tooth decay without resorting to alcohol. For instance, we've known for thousands of years that rinsing your mouth with salt can relieve sore throats. That’s because salt kills bacteria! This is just one of the ingredients that I am including in the mouthwash I’m developing.

Don't use mouthwashes containing alcohol

I do recommend that people use mouthwash to get rid of unwanted bacteria and keep the gums and other oral tissues healthy. But I just as strongly recommend that my patients stay away from mouthwashes containing alcohol as it does more harm than good.



If you're looking to avoid alcohol in mouthwash, also stay away from mouthwashes that contain benzalkonium chloride or triclosan.