Mouthwash linked with increased cancer risk
Monday, January 12th 2009
9AM Monday Jan 12, 2009
Dental experts are warning mouthwash could cause oral cancer and should be made available on prescription only.
A review published in the Australian Dental Journal has linked mouthwash containing alcohol to an increased risk of developing the deadly disease.
The alcohol in mouthwash is believed to allow cancer causing compounds to attack the lining of the mouth more easily.
The review author, Michael McCullough, is an Associate Professor in Oral medicine at Melbourne University.
He says dentists need to be aware of the risks of mouthwash.
"If they are going to recommend alcohol-containing products then they recommend it for a good reason, for a short period of time," he said.
"With this evidence that we've reviewed, we think it's not advisable for them to recommend it for the long, over a long period of time."
He says oral cancer examinations should be part of any dental check up.
"It should be just part of a regular examination so that when patients should be attending their dentist regularly for their teeth but also as part of that they should, in effect, have an oral cancer screening," he said.
"The vast majority of dentists do that, we just need to document it and tell the patients that's why we're doing it."
Professor McCullough says he is also concerned about mouthwash products that are readily available in supermarkets.
"There are products out there that are being recommended that have high levels of alcohol," he said.
"The most common is up at about 26 per cent alcohol in mouthwashes which is about twice as much as in wine and is being recommended as a product to use more than once a day, over an extended period of time to benefit the oral cavity."
But the New South Wales Cancer Institute's Professor Jim Bishop says the research forming the basis of the report does not specify the degree of risk.
He says the institute wants to commission more research into the issue.
"We don't know what sort of risk we're talking about with people who use mouthwash regularly... it might be quite low or it might be high so we need to know the degree of risk that's involved," he said.
More than 800 Australians are diagnosed with oral cancer each year.
About half of them die within five years of being diagnosed.
Footnote from Leanne James
We stock a few alcohol free mouth wash, which also contain antioxidants and other natural ingredients that help with healthy oral hygiene.
The following products are all useful for Good Oral Health :
Childrens Tooth Gel
Grant's Toothpaste Mineral Herbal
Oral Fresh Natural Toothgel
Inner Health Plus
Plant Gel Toothpaste
Snappy Jaws Toothpaste - Strawberry
Related health information can be found here:
Alfamax, a rich source of Vitamins and Minerals
FOS to assist with candida, diarrhoea, constipation or other bowel problems
Looking for a natural energy booster with the added cleansing power of chlorophyll?
Related articles can be found here:
If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.
Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.
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