European study reveals new causes of mouth and throat cancer

21 04 2014

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.

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 carried out by researchers at the University of Glasgow Dental School – as part of a Europe-wide collaboration co-ordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and led by the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology – BIPS in Bremen, Germany – 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, 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 thats 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, have recently received a new tranche of funding from the EU and Who is International Agency for Research of Cancer, which will be used to research prognostic factors as well as risk factors.



Find out more:


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. Wolfgang Ahrens; Hermann Pohlabeln; Ronja Foraita; Mari Nellis; Pagona Lagiou;Art Lagiou; Christine Bouchardy; Alena Slamova; Miriam Schejbalova; Franco Merletti; Lorenzo Richiardi; Kristina Kjaerheim; Antonio Agudo; Xavier Castellsague; Tatiana Macfarlane; Gary J Macfarlane; Yuan-Ching Amy Lee; Renato Talamini; Luigi Barzan; Cristina Canova; Lorenzo Simonato; Peter Thomson; Patricia McKinney; Alex D McMahon; Ariana Znaor; Claire M Healy; Bernard E Mccarthy; Andres Metspalu; Manuela Marron; Mia Hashibe; David I Conway; Paul Brennan.


Published in Oral Oncology [en línea] Glasgow (UK):, 21 de abril de 2014 [REF. 04 April of 2014] Available on Internet:

Develop new ceramic materials for application in health and energy

4 10 2012

The Balseiro scientists are working with this technology seeking to extend it to the treatment of cancer, Dental techniques and improve energy efficiency.

nuevos materiales vitrocerámicos

These new ceramic materials also will improve odontological techniques.

Usually identified with the art world, the ceramic is a very noble material with applications in more areas than is believed. It is the case of a group of scientists from the UNCuyo Balseiro Institute -based in Bariloche -, He developed technologies for ceramic (vitreous or glass-ceramics) in monolithic State or thin layers, as the case, with specific capabilities in the field of health and energy.

With respect to health research developed radioactive glass microspheres that are locked together in the liver, near tumors receiving the radiation emerging from them. But these microspheres can also be used in dentistry in the accession of restorations of rigid inclusion, totally ceramics, as explained Alejandro Fernández, Co-Director of the project.

In both, to the energy area focused on the development of ceramic for construction of fuel cell capable of converting, efficient and clean, chemical energy into electrical energy.

Fernandez argues that the Argentina has all the necessary elements in order to produce this technology in industrial way, even if for now it only is in the stage of research. "The first objective is to be able to produce them in the case of glass microspheres for radiotherapy", characterize them and tested for use in the country. It is a technology for which we have all the elements, including nuclear reactors that are necessary for its activation, "and it is very expensive if we want to buy the doses ready for treatments abroad", says researcher.

To give an idea of the breadth of applications that may have these materials, as a result of the project was another, no less important, as it is the development of microspheres for the transport of medicines, allow you to selectively separate ions from a solution.


One of the aspects of this unpublished research in Argentina is that trying to install this technology in the area of health, specifically in the treatment of tumors, through the development of glass microspheres for internal radiotherapy for liver cancer. "It maximizes the radioactive dose in diseased tissue and minimizes the dose in healthy tissue", explains Fernández. "Already applies in other countries without being a cure", "but in cases where it is recommended your application increases the life expectancy of patients", clarifies.

The project succeeded in producing microspheres, characterize them and are being used without activating in animal models in the Institute of Oncology Angel Roffo of Buenos Aires.

Dental bonding

Applications in dentistry was proposed to modify the ceramic surfaces in order to improve its adhesion to the dental cements and achieved a better seal its margins, "what would prevent something that in technical terms is called the marginal microleakage": avoid that microorganisms and their products to penetrate the tooth interface- restoration, "producing secondary caries", Adds Fernández.

According to the balance that makes so far, they were able to improve the adhesion, and the results — including a thesis of engineering performed by Pablo Bejarano- they were presented at the Conference of the society of surgical Dental and dental materials (ACT 2012) in last September.

Energy efficiency

In the case of the energy issue is well known that the oil crisis and the increasingly stringent standards on emissions to the atmosphere generated the search for alternative systems of obtaining electrical energy. Among them, fuel cells appear as very attractive devices since they have a high efficiency and emissions are minimal. Among the different types of fuel cells, the so-called of oxide solid (SOFC) they are most activity which focus on research and development, due to its great efficiency and range of applications.

Says Fernandez, the current challenge to convert to the SOFC in mass use devices is to increase reliability (life time) and reduce your costs. This, to a large extent, It is related to the research and development of new materials, in this case they are all ceramic oxides. "Which are available commercially operate at very high temperature" (in the range of 800 a 1000 °C), Instead the new materials that we studied in this project can be used in a range of operation which is called intermediate temperature (400-600 °C). "Th° Cdecrease in operating temperature would decrease the total cost of the cell and its useful life", details the researcher.

They are now working in the manufacture of a complete cell (cathode, anode and electrolyte) using any glass for sealing and verify performance in a SOFC, work that is underway.

On the other hand, clarifies Fernandez, the optimization of materials ceramic oxides in the energy area not only has multiple applications for fuel cells, but also for the production of hydrogen (in electrolizadoras cells), oxygen sensors or gas separation membranes. [en línea] Mendoza(ARG): October of 2012 [REF. 13 de septiembre de 2012] Available on Internet: