Soon it’s going to be easier for us to just start keeping track of what doesn’t cause cancer rather than what does. In case you’re keeping track, you can add mouthwash to your list.
The ethanol in mouthwash is thought 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.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
The only problem is that the American Dental Association is hell bent on a campaign to spread the word on how important it is to add regular mouthwash use to your normal brushing and flossing routine. I guess mouth cancer is a small price to pay for a beautiful smile.
Cliff Whall, director of the ADA (American Dental Association) Seal of Acceptance program, agrees that adding “rinse” to the mantra would probably be a good move for most everyone as well, as antimicrobial mouthwashes have been shown in clinical studies to prevent the gum disease gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums caused by the accumulation of plaque along the gum line.
Whall says dozens of antimicrobial rinses, like Listerine and the prescription mouthwash Peridex (also known by the generic name chlorhexidine), have carried the ADA Seal of Acceptance for two decades now for this very reason. Many rinses containing the tooth-strengthening chemical fluoride have also garnered this seal.
“The council came to the conclusion that putting more information out would be beneficial, as the message just hasn’t gotten out there as much as it has with fluoride toothpaste.”
Thanks Cliff, dick. Listerine is more than likely the worst mouthwash you can use because it contains the most alcohol. I just checked my Target brand Listerine knock-off and it’s 21% alcohol. Fuck me.