• oral cancer;
  • risk;
  • epidemiology;
  • review


Oral cancer incidence rates rose dramatically during the twentieth century in the United States and Europe, especially among individuals under the age of 60 years. Although influenced by age, sex, and country of origin, incidence trends were most strongly affected by elevated risk among individuals born after approximately 1915. This cohort effect was indicative of strong behavioral influences on oral cancer risk. In this article, associations between oral cancer risk and established behavioral risk factors including alcohol and tobacco use are reviewed. Additionally, possible associations between oral cancer risk and oral hygiene, diet, nutritional status, and sexual behavior as well as the influence of genetic factors on oral cancer risk are considered. Special emphasis is placed on evaluating possible risk differences in individuals above and below the age of 45 and in users and nonusers of alcohol and tobacco. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck 29, 2007