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Safe use of mouthwash

CTPA is aware that the University of Glasgow Dental School, in collaboration with the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology, has conducted a study which investigates whether poor oral hygiene is linked to an increased risk of mouth cancers.

Dr Chris Flower, a Chartered Biologist and toxicologist and Former Director-General of the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA), says:

"There have been a number of stories in the media that have used the results of the study to suggest that excessive use of mouthwash increases the likelihood of developing a mouth cancer but this is not what the study indicates and not what the authors of the study say.

From their results they suggest that poor oral hygiene is associated with an increased risk of mouth cancers, but also that people with poor oral hygiene and who therefore are at higher risk of mouth cancer may be greater users of mouthwash as a result. The authors also highlight that these 'greater users' (those using mouthwash three times a day or more, every day) may also be using mouthwash to mask the effects of smoking or alcohol - both factors that increase the likelihood of cancer.

We would like to reassure consumers that, firstly the study does not contain the findings that mouthwash use can cause mouth cancers, but also that all cosmetic products are safe to use. Manufacturers take their duty of care towards their consumers very seriously and ensure that their products are of the highest quality and safety. Strict European cosmetic law requires each product to undergo a robust safety assessment. Of course, with all cosmetic products it is important to follow the manufacturers' instructions."

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