Do you use Listerine Cool Mint frequently? If yes, read what a new study has found. The study published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology suggests that the regular use of Listerinemouthwash should be carefully considered.
“Listerine use was associated with an increased abundance of common oral opportunistic bacteria previously reported to be enriched in periodontal diseases, oesophageal and colorectal cancer, and systemic diseases,” the researchers found.
Listerine usage can increase cancer risk
Along with periodontal diseases, and systemic diseases, the researchers have found that regular use of Listerine can increase risk of oesophageal and colorectal cancer.
Oral health significantly impacts the risk of developing various types of cancer, particularly oral and systemic cancers. Poor oral hygiene can lead to chronic infections and periodontal disease, which cause persistent inflammation in the oral cavity. This chronic inflammation is a known risk factor for the development of cancer. Inflammatory processes can lead to cellular changes and mutations that may eventually result in malignancies.

Periodontal disease, characterized by gum inflammation and infection, has been linked to an increased risk of cancers such as oral, esophageal, pancreatic, and colorectal cancers. The bacteria responsible for periodontal disease, Fusobacterium nucleatum, can enter the bloodstream and travel to other parts of the body, potentially contributing to the development of systemic inflammation and carcinogenesis.
The researchers found that Fusobacterium nucleatum and Streptococcus anginosus were significantly more abundant after Listerine use. Fusobacterium nucleatum and Streptococcus anginosus are significant bacterial species linked to various infections and diseases. F. nucleatum is a key player in periodontal disease and has been associated with colorectal cancer due to its ability to promote inflammation and tumor growth. It can invade tissues and affect systemic health. S. anginosus, part of the Streptococcus anginosus group (SAG), is commonly found in the oral cavity and gastrointestinal tract. It is known for causing abscesses and invasive infections, particularly in immunocompromised individuals. Both bacteria highlight the critical connection between oral health and systemic diseases, emphasizing the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene.
Poor oral hygiene often correlates with other high-risk behaviors, such as tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption, both of which are well-established risk factors for various cancers, including oral, throat, and esophageal cancers. These substances can damage the mucosal lining and lead to DNA mutations, further increasing cancer risk.
Maintaining good oral hygiene through regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups can help reduce inflammation and bacterial load, thereby potentially lowering the risk of cancer. Addressing oral health issues promptly and adopting healthy lifestyle choices are essential steps in cancer prevention.
‘Most people should not be using it’
Study author Prof Chris Kenyon, head of the STI Unit at the university, told The Telegraph: “Both organisms can cause severe invasive infections and have been linked to various types of cancer, such as esophageal and colorectal cancer.”
Daily mouthwash use “could increase their risk of cancer and various infections”, he added.

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