Mouthwash and Oral CancerSo if we look at the worst-case scenario from commercial mouthwashes, then we should consider oral cancer. While oral cancer has multiple risk factors, Listerine and other popular brands of mouthwashes containing alcohol have been linked to an increased risk of developing oral cancer. In fact, close to 53,000 Americans and more than 640,000 people across the world are diagnosed with oral cancer every year. It can occur on the tongue, the floor of the mouth, or the gums and cheeks. And new research says that mouthwash may be partly to blame.
Mouthwash IngredientsMost mouthwash contains alcohol, along with other toxins and chemicals that could be putting your health at risk, each time you gargle, hoping for fresh breath. In case you've never checked out the ingredient list on your mouthwash, here's a rundown on just some of the chemicals that may be hiding in your minty rinse:
- Chlorhexidine:This chemical may be the cause of increased blood pressure associated with mouthwash use. According to a study published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine, using mouthwash just twice a day can increase blood pressure and lead to serious heart conditions. Chlorhexidine kills the good bacteria in the body that is responsible for relaxing the blood vessels.
- Alcohol:Alcohol dries out the mucous membranes in the mouth and reduces saliva, causing bad breath. It changes the pH of the mouth and throat, and the Dental Journal of Australia found sufficient evidence that alcohol increases the risk of developing oral, head and neck cancers.
- Hexetidine (oraldene):Ingesting too much of this chemical can cause clotting in parts of the brain that control sensory and neural functions. Because of this, it may cause failure in these parts of the brain over time. Oraldene can also cause unstable heartbeat and allergic reactions, and it may be carcinogenic.
- Methyl Salicylate:Just one tablespoon of this substance is equivalent to over 23 300mg aspirin pills. An overdose can lead to kidney failure, loss of vision, low blood pressure, difficulty breathing, convulsions, vomiting and much more.
- Methylparaben:Methylparaben has been found within breast cancer tissues. Unfortunately, manufacturers commonly use it in mouthwash and women’s cosmetics, such as skin creams and deodorants. Studies suggest that it may increase the risk of breast cancer or accelerate the growth of tumors.