Deena Campbell, Sky News Online

Using some mouthwash brands can increase the risk of getting mouth cancer, a new study claims.

Rinsing with mouthwash containing alcohol makes it easier for cancer-causing substances like nicotine to penetrate the lining of the mouth, says the report's author, Professor Michael McCullough.

More than 3,000 people were examined for the research, giving 'sufficient evidence' that using mouthwash is linked to the development of oral cancer.

The study, published in the Dental Journal of Australia, said some mouthwashes contain a higher alcohol content than drinks bought in pubs and bars.

It is suggested that dentists should only prescribe mouthwashes containing high levels of alcohol for short-term use.

Oral cancer is a big killer in the UK.

In 2006, it caused 1,700 deaths and almost 5,000 people are diagnosed with the disease each year.

Yinka Ebo, from Cancer Research UK, said: "Alcohol definitely causes mouth cancer.

"The idea that alcoholic mouthwashes could increase the risk of mouth cancer makes sense - but more research is needed."

But Prof Damien Walmsley, from the British Dental Association, cautions that the evidence linking alcoholic mouthwash and oral cancer "is not conclusive".

Anyone with concerns about using mouthwash is advised to contact their dentist.

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