Mouthwash cancer warning for smokers
SMOKERS have been warned to stay away from mouthwash -- as it might increase their risk of developing mouth cancer.
The combination of smoking and drinking alcohol has been established as increasing the risk of the disease. Now researchers have warned that may apply even to the alcohol contained in mouthwash.
They pointed out that, while the link between the use of mouthwash containing alcohol and the cancer is not firmly established, it is best avoided or limited in use by smokers.
The risk was examined by researchers led by dentist Dr John Reidy and colleagues in the Royal College of Surgeons and St James's Hospital in Dublin.
Around 400 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year in Ireland with two people a week dying from the disease.
Symptoms include red and white patches on the lining of the mouth or tongue, a mouth ulcer that does not heal or a swelling that lasts for more than three weeks.
The most effective way of preventing mouth cancer is to quit smoking and limit consumption of alcohol, say experts.
The researchers said they were concerned about the effects the alcohol in the mouthwash had and it was therefore "prudent" to restrict its use by smokers who are considered "high-risk" for mouth cancer.
Around three-quarters of mouth cancers arise due to a patient both smoking and drinking, according to the study in the 'Journal of the Irish Dental Association'.