For citation purposes: Currie S, Farah CS. Alcohol-containing mouthwash and oral cancer risk: a review of current evidence. OA Alcohol 2014 Feb 10;2(1):4.



Alcohol-containing mouthwash and oral cancer risk: a review of current evidence

S Currie,, CS Farah,

Authors affiliations

(1) School of Dentistry, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4000, Australia

(2) UQ Centre for Clinical Research, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital Campus, University of Queensland, Herston, Brisbane, QLD 4029, Australia

* Corresponding author Email:



The existence or lack of an association between the use of alcohol-containing mouthwashes and the development of oral squamous cell carcinoma remains a significantly contentious issue within the scientific community. The published literature on the topic includes both epidemiological studies assessing associations on a population level and mechanistic studies investigating the local effects of alcohol-containing mouthwashes in both in vitro and in vivo environments, as well as reviews evaluating, comparing and synthesising these results. Despite a broad base of evidence, there remains no clear academic consensus with regard to the relationship between alcohol-containing mouthwashes and oral squamous cell carcinoma. This review aims to present and evaluate the evidence for and against any association.


While there is a lack of consistent evidence, it is advisable for clinicians to promote the use of non-alcoholic mouthwashes in order to minimise any potential increase in risk, and discourage long-term use of high alcohol-containing products.

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