Alcohol-containing mouthwash and oral cancer – can epidemiology prove the absence of risk?
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Chemical and Veterinary Investigation Agency Karlsruhe, Germany
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2012;19(3):609–610
Gandini et al. [1] are to be commended for providing the most detailed meta-analysis of epidemiological studies about the connection between mouthwash use and oral cancer risk. The result (i.e. the absence of an association between use of alcohol-containing mouthwash and risk) was not completely unexpected, based on previous meta analyses financed by manufacturers of this type of mouthwash [2, 3, 4, 5], which were critically scrutinized in the past as the outcomes were often more favourable than in independently financed studies [6]. Nevertheless, no obvious industry bias was recognizable in the current piece and, especially, the authors have clearly separated alcohol-containing from alcohol-free mouthwashes in their analysis.