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A U.S. senator said Tuesday that a popular mouthwash kills the most dangerous form of HIV-related cancer in humans. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) cited research that was published last month in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene on mouthwashes that could protect against necrotizing fasciitis, known as “flesh-eating disease,” a bacterial infection that can lead to cancer.
Paul said that Listerine for the tongue “plugs up their mouths” and limits the spread of the disease, which the senator claimed had a 90 percent survival rate without proper medical attention. “That was done for god’s sake,” the senator said of the research in the study.
Dr. Thomas Schroeder, a medical doctor at the University of Cincinnati’s Geisinger Health Center who was not involved in the research, said Paul’s statements are “rubbish” and that Listerine can have harmful effects and cuts of up to half the tongue’s surface area. “It would have killed anyone. And it still does,” Schroeder told NPR.