Could Your Mouthwash Cause Oral Cancer?
A popular scare that makes online medical headlines is the idea that your innocuous and fresh-tasting mouthwash is a ticking time bomb in a bottle.
It’s only naturally to be worried about the products you use in your mouth, but getting some more information on mouthwash might help ease your concerns.
Why This Is a Concern
Most mouthwashes contain a percentage of alcohol as a preservative and emulsifying agent. The alcohol doesn’t kill germs, but it does effectively suspend the active ingredients. Alcohol is a known risk factor for oral cancer, if consumed frequently. The issue with mouthwash is whether using one on a regular basis increases your risk for developing cancer because of exposure to the alcohol.
What We Do Know
Oral cancer does indeed have some well-documented risk factors which include:
- Tobacco use
- Gender (males are more susceptible)
- Radiation exposure
- Infection with certain viruses (such as HPV)
Alcohol use is included as a risk. It should be noted that alcohol use is defined by consuming entire alcoholic drinks. No studies have yet shown that the use of a rinse that contains alcohol (even twice a day) contributes to a person’s oral cancer risk.
You can rinse quite safely, without having to change your routine.
Lowering Your Risk in Newburyport, MA
At the end of the day, you could simply make the personal decision to avoid alcohol-based rinses. A lot of patients do this anyway because they can’t have alcohol or their mouths are too dry. There are plenty of alcohol-free alternatives.
Make sure that you’re getting a professional oral cancer risk assessment on a regular basis. Stopping by our dental office for checkups and cleanings is the best way to ensure a healthy smile. We’ll also give you tailored suggestions for keeping your smile healthy and safe, with or without mouthwash!