Research Highlights New Risk Factors For Oral Cancer

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Research carried out by a team of international researchers for the International Agency for Research on Cancer has highlighted new risk factors for oral cancer, including poor standards of oral health and infrequent dental checks.

The research project, which was conducted by a team at the Liebniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology in Bremen with support from scientists at Glasgow University’s dental school, suggested that neglecting oral health and routine dental appointments can increase the risk of mouth cancer. Researchers are found that patients who use mouthwash more than three times a day also had a higher risk of developing the disease.

The study involved 1,962 patients with cancer and 1,633 control patients in countries across Europe.

Smoking, drinking alcohol regularly and excessively and being from a poor socio-economic background are already established risk factors for the disease.

Deputy director of the Liebniz Institute, Professor Wolfgang Ahrens, said that the findings of the study are very important because there was a significant connection between many of the different risk factors. The researches classed poor oral health as persistent bleeding gums and missing teeth and found that many patients who wear dentures develop the disease as a result of neglecting regular dental appointments.

Dr David Conway, from Glasgow University, said that dentists use their discretion to recommend the frequency of dental visits, which may range from 2 or 3 times per year for people who have existing oral health problems or fair standards of oral health or just once a year for people who have good oral health and a low risk of oral disease.

In response to the findings about mouthwash, the team suggested that further research in this area is required.

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