Monday, May 10, 2010

Cause for worry?

I was talking to my dad over the phone just now and he mentioned something which I found to be quite disturbing - disturbing because this is the first I've heard about it, and also because many people in this country, including myself occasionally, use it. The worrying news has to do with mouthwash.

Do you use it?

If you use Listerine, Plax, or any other mouthwash that contains alcohol there is a potentially higher risk of you developing oral cancer. Yes, you read that right - using those brightly-coloured, minty (or citrusy, take your pick) flavoured liquids may lead to cancer. I was rather skeptical when my Dad talked about it, so I looked it up and true enough, there have been reports about such a claim. The Australian Dental Association had apparently published a paper concerning the use of mouthwashes and this was what was said:

"There is now sufficient evidence to accept the proposition that developing oral cancer is increased or contributed to by the use of alcohol-containing mouthwashes."

You can read more about it in this article from the Daily Telegraph, an Australian newspaper, which was published way back in January 2009. The actual paper may be read here if you're interested.

Having said that however, a supposedly comprehensive study along the same lines published in the Journal of the American Dental Association (ADA) in 2003 claims that there is no link between alcohol-based mouthwashes and oral cancer. The ADA even recommends that such mouthwashes be used as part of your oral hygiene regimen.

Conflicting conclusions means nothing is conclusive yet. So, the ball's in our park - do we err on the side of caution, or not?

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