Mouthwash that contains alcohol has been linked to cancer, a recent study found.

The study, published in the Australian Dental Journal, concludes there is ``sufficient evidence'' that "alcohol-containing mouthwashes contribute to the increased risk of [the] development of oral cancer."

The ethanol in mouthwash is thought to allow cancer-causing substances to permeate the lining of the mouth more easily and cause harm.

Acetaldehyde, a toxic by-product of alcohol that may accumulate in the oral cavity when swished around the mouth, is also believed to be carcinogenic.

Some mouthwash contains as much as 26 percent alcohol.

The study's author ProfessorMichael McCullough told The Sunday Telegraph alcohol-containing mouthwash should be reclassified as prescription-only and carry written health warnings.

"We see people with oral cancer who have no other risk factors than the use of alcohol-containing mouthwash, so what we've done in this study is review all the evidence that's out there,'' he said.

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