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

Causes of oral cancer--an appraisal of controversies.

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Department of Oral Medicine/WHO Collaborating Centre for Oral Cancer and Precancer, King's College London Dental Institute, Denmark Hill Campus, Bessemer Road, London.


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.

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