Poor oral health and failure to have regular dental checks could increase the risk of mouth and throat cancer, according to a pan-European study. One of the partners of the study was the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology (BIPS) at the University of Bremen, Germany (Prof. Wolfgang Ahrens). It was coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
The research also suggests – based on a small number of tumour patients – that excessive use of mouthwash may also cause this particular form of cancer. Excessive use is defined as more than three times a day.
It has been established for some time that smoking and heavy alcohol consumption, particularly in combination, are strongly related to mouth and throat cancers. Low socio-economic status is also recognised as a contributory factor. Now, however, a new study has identified new risk factors for upper aerodigestive tract cancer (cancer of the mouth, larynx, pharynx and esophagus).
The study of 1,962 patients with mouth and throat cancers, with a further 1,993 people used as comparison control subjects, was conducted in 13 centres across nine countries and supported by EU funding.
Prof. Wolfgang Ahrens, Deputy Director of the BIPS and professor of epidemiological research methods at the University of Bremen said: “These results are really important. Up until now, it was not really known if these dental risk factors were independent of the well known risks for mouth and throat cancers – smoking, alcohol and low socioeconomic status.”
The researchers were able to strip out the causation factors of smoking, alcohol and socio-economic factors, and still found there was a connection between poor oral health and increased risk of mouth and throat cancers.
The findings are highly “nuanced” and there is an interconnectedness of many of the risk factors, he stressed, but there was now evidence that poor oral health and poor dental care were also part of the picture.
The definition of poor oral health included people who had complete or part dentures, people with persistently bleeding gums.
“People should not assume that if they wear dentures and have none of their own teeth left, they have no need to see a dentist,” said Dr David Conway, Clinical Senior Lecturer at the University of Glasgow Dental School and one of the senior authors of the study. “On the contrary, even if you have got dentures, you should make sure you go for regular check-ups,” he said.
People with poor dental care were defined as those who hardly ever or never brushed their teeth or visited the dentist. The frequency of dental visits should be determined by a dentist’s risk assessment and if people fell into the low risk category it could be once a year or even every two years, said Dr Conway.
“It is not a case of ‘one size fits all’. Visits could be six-monthly, but certainly not five-yearly,” Dr. Conway added.
The possible role of mouthwash as a causative factor would require further research, said Professor Ahrens. There might be a relationship between excessive use of mouthwash and people who used it to mask the smell of smoking and alcohol. Nevertheless, the researchers found that “frequent use of mouthwashes (3-plus times per day) was associated with an elevated risk of developing mouth and throat cancer”, although they were unable to analyse the types of mouthwash used many years ago by participants in the study.
Dr Conway said: “I would not advise routine use of mouthwash, full stop. There are occasions and conditions for which a dentist could prescribe a mouthwash – it could be that a patient has a low salivary flow because of a particular condition or medicine they are taking. But for me, all that’s necessary in general is good regular brushing with a fluoride toothpaste and flossing combined with regular check-ups by a dentist.”
The research group, which includes collaborators from Germany, UK, Estonia, Switzerland, Greece, the Czech Republic, Italy, Norway, Spain, USA, Croatia, Ireland and France, has recently received a new tranche of funding from the EU and WHO’s International Agency for Research of Cancer, which will be used to research prognostic factors as well as risk factors.
Published online in Oral Oncology on 26th March 2014:
Title: "Oral health, dental care and mouthwash associated with upper aerodigestive tract cancer risk in Europe: the ARCAGE (Alcohol-Related Cancers and Genetic-susceptibility in Europe) study"
Contact in Germany:
University of Bremen
Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science
Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology - BIPS
Professor Dr Wolfgang Ahrens
Phone: +49 (0)421 218-56822
Mobile: +49 (0)172-408-8706
Meike Mossig | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Study suggests new way of preventing diabetes-associated blindness
26.05.2015 | Johns Hopkins Medicine
Memories Influence Choice of Food
22.05.2015 | Universität Basel
Many joining and cutting processes are possible only with lasers. New technologies make it possible to manufacture metal components with hollow structures that are significantly lighter and yet just as stable as solid components. In addition, lasers can be used to combine various lightweight construction materials and steels with each other. The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen is presenting a range of such solutions at the LASER World of Photonics trade fair from June 22 to 25, 2015 in Munich, Germany, (Hall A3, Stand 121).
Lightweight construction materials are popular: aluminum is used in the bodywork of cars, for example, and aircraft fuselages already consist in large part of...
Using ultrashort laser pulses, scientists in Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have demonstrated the emission of extreme ultraviolet radiation from thin dielectric films and have investigated the underlying mechanisms.
In 1961, only shortly after the invention of the first laser, scientists exposed silicon dioxide crystals (also known as quartz) to an intense ruby laser to...
The only professorship in Germany to date, one master's programme, one laboratory with worldwide unique equipment and the corresponding research results: The University of Würzburg is leading in the field of biofabrication.
Paul Dalton is presently the only professor of biofabrication in Germany. About a year ago, the Australian researcher relocated to the Würzburg department for...
Physicists have developed an innovative method that could enable the efficient use of nanocomponents in electronic circuits. To achieve this, they have developed a layout in which a nanocomponent is connected to two electrical conductors, which uncouple the electrical signal in a highly efficient manner. The scientists at the Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel have published their results in the scientific journal “Nature Communications” together with their colleagues from ETH Zurich.
Electronic components are becoming smaller and smaller. Components measuring just a few nanometers – the size of around ten atoms – are already being produced...
Development and implementation of an advanced automobile parking navigation platform for parking services
To fulfill the requirements of the industry, PolyU researchers developed the Advanced Automobile Parking Navigation Platform, which includes smart devices,...
20.05.2015 | Event News
18.05.2015 | Event News
12.05.2015 | Event News
29.05.2015 | Life Sciences
29.05.2015 | Earth Sciences
29.05.2015 | Physics and Astronomy