Alcohol-based mouthwash as a risk factor of oral cancer : a systematic review

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Oral and pharynx cancer represent a serious global problem, reaching an incidence of half a million cases annually. The role of tobacco and alcohol have been studied and proven to be one of its risk factors. We also know that mouthwashes contain a variable percentage of alcohol, so there is a reasonable concern about their role in carcinogenesis. To answer the PICOS (Population; Intervention; Comparison; Outcomes; Study) question: "Do patients (Population) who use alcohol-based mouthwashes (Intervention) compared to those who do not use them (Comparison) have higher acetaldehyde levels in saliva or higher risk of oral cancer development? (Outcomes)" Meta-analyses, systematic reviews, randomized and non-randomized clinical trials, case-control studies, and prospective and retrospective cohort studies were included (Study). Two independent authors conducted literature screening through MEDLINE, Scopus and the Cochrane Library, and they also conducted article and data extraction to undertake quality analyses. The main outcome measures were salivary acetaldehyde levels or the risk of oral cancer development. The most relevant data was extracted and the risk of bias from the studies included was also evaluated. Out of 497 potentially eligible papers, 8 studies were included in the qualitative analysis which include a total of 43,499 subjects: two meta-analyses, a clinical trial, three case-control studies and two cohort studies. One study (n = 3,926) found a relationship between alcohol mouthwash and oral cancer, two studies (n = 25,033) found this relationship when a high frequency of mouthwash was present, three studies (n = 14,482) failed to find this relationship and 2 studies (n = 58) found a temporary increase of acetaldehyde levels in saliva after alcohol mouthwash. It cannot be guaranteed that the use of mouthwash represents an independent risk factor for the development of head and neck cancer. However, the risk does increase when it occurs in association with other carcinogenic risk factors.
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Ustrell-Borràs, Marina ; Traboulsi-Garet, Bassel ; Gay-Escoda, Cosme. Alcohol-based mouthwash as a risk factor of oral cancer : a systematic review. En: Medicina oral, patología oral y cirugía bucal. Ed. inglesa, 25 1 2020: 4-