Cigarette smoking destroys protective molecules in saliva, raising the risk of oral cancer, according to new research, Reuters reported June 1.
“Cigarette smoke is not only damaging on its own, it can turn the body against itself,” said Dr Rafi Nagler of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel.
According to Nagler, saliva contains antioxidants that normally protect the body against cancer. But a laboratory study on cancerous cells found that cigarette smoke destroys the antioxidant molecules and turns saliva into a dangerous compound.
“Our study shows that once exposed to cigarette smoke, our normally healthy saliva not only loses its beneficial qualities but it turns traitor and actually aids in destroying the cells of the mouth and oral cavity,” Nagler said.
The study’s findings are published in the British Journal of Cancer.