Can Mouthwash Cause Oral Cancer?

Platinum Dental Care patients receive an oral cancer screening at every appointment with one of our award-winning doctors. The reason we make oral cancer screenings a priority is that only a trained oral health professional can accurately identify the disease. In fact, just last year a dentist in Utah saved his patient’s life by detecting oral cancer in her mouth during a routine cleaning and exam. Oral cancer is a force to be reckoned with, but luckily many of its causes are avoidable and the disease more easily preventable than other cancers. If you are worried about the risk factors contributing to your oral health, talk to a Platinum Dental Care dentist about your concerns.

For many years, experts have agreed that excessive alcohol consumption combined with smoking will increase a patient’s risk of oral cancer. In 2008, Associate Professor Michael McCullough from Melbourne University, published findings in his study in the Australian Dental Journal about alcohol-based mouthwashes also posing a similar risk as frequent alcohol consumption. Professor McCullough stated in his findings that some mouthwashes were more dangerous than wine or beer because they contain higher concentrations of alcohol-- some reaching as high as 26 percent.

While the logic behind Professor McCullough’s discussion of mouthwash was clear, no conclusive results were reached based on his hypothesis. In fact, since the publication of his research, at least ten epidemiological studies published over the last three decades strongly suggest that the use of alcohol-containing rinses do not increase the risk of oral cancer.

As with the consumption of alcoholic drinks, many believe the ethanol in mouthwash allows cancer-causing substances (such as nicotine) to permeate the lining of the mouth more easily, accelerating the process of deterioration and cell destruction.

While the logic appears sound, Professor Laurence Walsh of the University of Queensland's School of Dentistry denies its truthfulness and claims that mouthwashes are more likely to help prevent cancer as they impair the production of molecules that have cancer-causing effects.

Whether or not you believe the rhetoric against alcohol-based mouthwash or not, at Platinum Dental Care we caution our patients against using a powerful alcoholic-based mouthwash on a daily basis. For our patients who smoke and use mouthwash to reduce the smell and taste of cigarette smoke in their mouth, we issue a special caution against alcoholic mouthwash. At Platinum Dental Care, our policy on mouthwash follows the guidelines set forth by current literature. Only in specific situations, such as before or after an oral surgery, do we recommend mouthwash.

Mouthwash is a powerful cleaning agent and has the power to aid with the healing of gums after gum therapy, and should be used as a pre-rinse prior to dental procedures. For short periods of recovery and used by prescription only, mouthwash can be a powerful tool for cleaning the mouth and facilitating quick healing. For everyday use, werecommend other types of mouthwash like Act, a fluoride mouthwash.


If you have any concerns about the mouthwash that you are currently using or that we have prescribed for you please do not hesitate to contact us at alyssa.n@platinumdentalservices.com phone number 801-293-1234
Quarter 2 offer
Top Dentistry Clinics in Lehi, UT 2015
Platinum Dental Care has been recognized as a top Lehi Dentistry practice in 2015. Congratulations to the entire team!
Verified by Opencare.com

Request an Appointment

Why Choose Platinum Dental?

  • Highest Quality Patient Care
  • Multiple locations
  • Friendly & Caring Staff