Causes of oral cancer--an appraisal of controversies

Br Dent J. 2009 Nov 28;207(10):471-5. doi: 10.1038/sj.bdj.2009.1009.


Major risk factors for oral cancer are cigarette smoking and alcohol misuse. Among Asian populations, regular use of betel quid (with or without added tobacco) increases oral cancer risks. Dentists should be aware of some emerging risk factors for oral, and particularly oropharyngeal cancer such as the role of the human papillomavirus infection (HPV). Decreases in risk could be achieved by encouraging high fruit and vegetable consumption. Some controversies related to the aetiology of this disease also need clarification. The objective of this paper is to provide an opinion on these debated controversies.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution, Indoor / adverse effects
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Areca / adverse effects
  • Cannabis / adverse effects
  • Catha / adverse effects
  • Dental Deposits / complications
  • Diet / adverse effects
  • Ethnicity
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • Heredity
  • Humans
  • Ilex paraguariensis / adverse effects
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Mouth Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Mouthwashes / adverse effects
  • Nicotiana / adverse effects
  • Nicotine / adverse effects
  • Nicotine / therapeutic use
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Polyomavirus Infections / complications


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Mouthwashes
  • Nicotine