Medicine: Saliva v. Cancer

While cancer of the lung has become much more prevalent in recent years, cancer of the mouth has not. Medical researchers have been puzzled by this, since cancer-causing agents, e.g., tobacco tar, reach the lungs through the mouth. In the Journal of the American Dental Association, investigators offer two tentative explanations: saliva has a protective effect, though whether this is brought about simply by washing away the cancer agent or by combating it chemically is not known; the tissues of the mouth are so constructed as to constitute a kind of "physiological barrier" against the entry of cancer agents.

Animal tests support...

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