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Exploring the Link Between Listerine Mouthwash and Cancer Risks

Exploring the Link Between Listerine Mouthwash and Cancer Risks


In recent times, a startling claim has surfaced, causing ripples of concern among consumers worldwide: the allegation that regular use of Listerine Cool Mint mouthwash could potentially lead to cancer. This news has understandably caused alarm, given the product’s widespread popularity and daily use by millions in their oral hygiene routines.

Listerine’s Market Presence

Listerine Cool Mint is produced by Kenvue, an American consumer health company also known for Johnson’s Baby items. Its availability in most supermarkets makes it a convenient choice for many looking to maintain oral health.

The Role of Alcohol in Mouthwash

Some researchers have pointed out that alcohol-based mouthwashes like Listerine may disrupt the oral microbiome, leading to an increase in opportunistic bacteria associated not only with periodontal disease but also with systemic diseases and certain cancers such as those of the oesophagus and colon.

The Study’s Findings

A new study has brought to light some serious implications regarding the daily use of Listerine Cool Mint mouthwash. Researchers have found that this specific flavour of mouthwash significantly increased levels of two types of bacteria in the mouth, which have been linked to oesophagal and colorectal cancer. These findings have prompted scientists to caution against the daily use of this product.

Microbiome analysis:

  • Oropharyngeal swabs were provided at the beginning and end of every mouthwash duration.
  • Shotgun metagenomic analysis was performed to determine microbial memberships.
  • Most samples had Streptococcus as the highest genus abundance followed by Prevotella and Veillonella respectively.
  • The composition of the oral microbiome (beta diversity) greatly changed after 3 months of using Listerine.


  • The oral microbiome was modified by Listerine Cool Mint but its clinical relevance is not yet known.
  • Further research is necessary to comprehend long-term effects and possible health connotations.

Industry Response and Consumer Guidance

As this news unfolds, it is crucial for consumers to stay informed and for industry leaders to provide clear guidance. While the study presents concerning data, it is important to remember that correlation does not necessarily imply causation. Further research is needed to fully understand the relationship between mouthwash use and cancer risk.


This study on Listerine Cool Mint mouthwash serves as a reminder of the importance of scrutinizing even the most mundane aspects of our daily routines. As for the specific chemical or compound responsible, the study did not pinpoint a single culprit. Instead, it highlighted the overall impact of alcohol-based mouthwash on the oral microbiome. Consumers are advised to stay abreast of new research findings and consult with healthcare professionals when making decisions about their oral hygiene products.

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