Top-selling mouthwash brands linked to oral cancer

January 11th, 2009 - 2:11 pm ICT by ANI  

Melbourne, Jan 11 (ANI): Australian health experts have warned that top-selling mouthwashes can cause oral cancer and should be pulled from supermarket shelves immediately.

The experts issued the warning after investigating latest scientific evidence linking alcohol-containing mouthwashes to the deadly disease.

The investigation concludes that there is now sufficient evidence that “alcohol-containing mouthwashes contribute to the increased risk of development of oral cancer”.

The mouthwash contains ethanol, which is believed to allow cancer-causing substances to permeate the lining of the mouth more easily and cause harm.

Acetaldehyde, a toxic by-product of alcohol that may accumulate in the oral cavity when swished around the mouth, is also believed to be carcinogenic.

Listerine, the nation’’s biggest-selling mouthwash and a brand endorsed by the Australian Dental Association (ADA), contains as much as 26 per cent alcohol.

Lead review author Professor Michael McCullough said that alcohol-containing mouthwash should be reclassified as prescription-only and carry written health warnings.

Prof McCullough, chair of the ADA’’s therapeutics committee and associate professor of oral medicine at the University of Melbourne, is calling on the ADA to urgently re-assess its seal of approval on mouthwashes containing alcohol.

“We see people with oral cancer who have no other risk factors than the use of alcohol-containing mouthwash, so what we”ve done in this study is review all the evidence that’’s out there,” quoted him, as saying.

“Since this article came out, further evidence has come out too. We believe there should be warnings.

“If it was a facial cream that had the effect of reducing acne but had a four- to five-fold increased risk of skin cancer, no one would be recommending it,” he added.

The review is published in the Dental Journal of Australia. (ANI)

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