Send to

Choose Destination
Med Oral. 2004 Mar-Apr;9(2):120-3, 116-20.

Alcohol-containing mouthwashes and oral cancer. Critical analysis of literature.

[Article in English, Spanish]

Author information

Facultad de Odontología de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain.


For centuries, mouthwashes have been used in order to provide us with oral health or cosmetic benefits. Nowadays, in most countries, there is a variety of formulas available for the general public in the form of products which may require prescription or not. Alcohol is used in mouthwashes as a solvent of other ingredients and as a preservative of the preparation. For years, different formulas of mouthwashes have been used, however, the question about its alcohol content being a threat for health or not has recently appeared. The high quantity of alcohol in some mouthwashes combined with the fact that they keep in contact with the oral mucosa for much more time than alcoholic drinks, can make us think about a harmful effect from a local mechanism. Mouthrinses increase the time of the mucosa being in contact with alcohol and it has been proved that those with a high content of alcohol do cause hyperkerastosic lesions both in human beings and laboratory animals. At the moment and with the data we have, it has not been possible to establish a causal relationship between the use of alcohol-containing mouthwashes and the development of oral cancer. There is neither an evidence of the fact that alcohol increases the effects of antiplaque agents in mouthwashes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Medicina Oral S.L.
Loading ...
Support Center