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tacoma dentist's blog

Is There Something Cancer-Causing in Your Dental Kit?

Young woman rinsing her teeth with mouthwash

The very first thing you do right after getting out of bed is going to the sink to freshen up, isn’t it? And right after you brush your teeth, the burst of freshness that your mouthwash gives you is indeed irreplaceable. However, this freshness may not be long lived in case your mouthwash contains alcohol (Listerine, Scope). For a long time alcohol has been hailed as a great germ killer. But is it worth the risks it poses when used as a major ingredient in mouthwash? What Exactly Happens

Alcohol-containing mouthwashes kill bacteria and germs in your mouth that accumulate throughout the night. This leads to an environment conducive for the healthy growth of gums and teeth while replacing bad odor by fresh breath. However, the very same alcohol-containing mouthwashes create a burning sensation and penetrate the lining inside the mouth to fight bacteria which weakens and makes it more vulnerable to carcinogens. What Research has Revealed

Recent research showed that alcohol present in mouthwash may lead to oral cancer. Here is an excerpt from the summary of one of such studies.

‘… we believe that there is now sufficient evidence to accept the proposition that alcohol-containing mouthwashes contribute to the increased risk of development of oral cancer and further feel that it is inadvisable for oral healthcare professionals to recommend the long-term use of alcohol-containing mouthwashes.’

Research points to the possibility of alleviated chances of cancer of the larynx and pharynx as well as an increment in dental cavities. If you are not a regular consumer of alcohol but use alcoholic mouthwash daily, you’re 5 times more likely to have oral cancer than a person who does not use an alcoholic mouthwash. Whereas someone who uses alcoholic mouthwash and frequently smokes and/or drinks will be 9 times more likely to have oral cancer. Are You Convinced?

Other studies within the last 10 years showed that there are not enough evidence to definitively link mouthwashes containing alcohol to oral cancer. A study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) reviewed 9 separate studies looking at the association between mouthwash and cancer. 6 out of the 9 studies showed no association at all and even the three studies that showed positive results were not deemed credible due to recall bias. The JADA concluded that there are no credible link between mouthwash use and cancer risk. Are You Confused Yet?

Until concrete evidence is available, the decisions on whether to use mouthwash containing alcohol or not remains a matter of personal preference. Tacoma Dentist recommends that you don't give up using your alcohol-containing mouthwashes just yet. We believe that they provide a valuable role in your mouth's defense against gum inflammation and plaque. But if are concerned with using alcohol-based mouthwashes, then read on. Substitutes for Alcoholic Mouthwash

Yes, it is alcohol in your mouthwash that creates that sensational experience you have gotten used to by now. But here are a number of equally healthy substitutes for alcohol-containing mouthwash. A few of them are Oxyfresh, BreathRx, Listerine Zero, Gum Tonic and Tom’s Maine Natural Cleaning. Look for these brands in stores located close to you.

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