In the oral cavity, chronic inflammation has been observed at various stages of oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCC). Such inflammation could result from persistent mucosal or epithelial cell colonization by microorganisms. There is increasing evidence of the involvement of oral bacteria in inflammation, warranting further studies on the association of bacteria with the progression of OSCC. The objective of this study was to evaluate the diversity and relative abundance of bacteria in the saliva of subjects with OSCC. Using 454 parallel DNA sequencing, ∼58 000 PCR amplicons that span the V4–V5 hypervariable region of rRNAs from five subjects were sequenced. Members of eight phyla (divisions) of bacteria were detected. The majority of classified sequences belonged to the phyla Firmicutes (45%) and Bacteroidetes (25%). Further, 52 different genera containing approximately 860 (16.51%) known species were identified and 1077 (67%) sequences belonging to various uncultured bacteria or unclassified groups. The species diversity estimates obtained with abundance-based coverage estimators and Chao1 were greater than published analyses of other microbial profiles from the oral cavity. Fifteen unique phylotypes were present in all three OSCC subjects.