Despite recent advances in therapy and treatment for oral cancer, survival rates are still low. It is generally accepted that oral cancer may arise from potentially premalignant disorders. Oral erythroplakia has been identified as the one with the highest malignant transformation rates. The aim of this review was to provide detailed information on oral cancer and oral erythroplakia. Few data are available on oral erythroplakia and there is an urgent need for randomized controlled trials. Early detection and diagnosis is still the key to survival rates. Dentists and physicians may play an important role in the detection of premalignant lesions and therefore improve patients’ outcome.