Around a fifth of the UK population smoke and the habit is still thought to be the leading cause of mouth cancer.
Chewing or Smokeless tobacco
Although some people believe that chewing or smokeless tobacco is safer than smoking, the reality is that it is much more dangerous.
Drinking to excess can increase mouth cancer by up to 4 times. As alcohol aids the absorption of tobacco into the mucous membranes, those who smoke and drink to excess are up to 30 times more likely to develop the disease.
Around a third of cases are thought to be linked to an unhealthy diet, make sure you get your 5 a day! Increasing evidence suggests that Omega 3, found in fish and eggs can help lower the risks, as can foods high in fibre such as nuts, seeds, wholewheat pasta and rice.
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
The Human Papilloma Virus, transmitted via oral sex, is increasingly being linked to mouth cancer. Younger people are particularly at risk. A recent US study suggest that within 10 years HPV will rival tobacco and alcohol as a key risk factor, although some research suggests that people with mouth cancer caused by HPV have a greater chance of survival. People with multiple partners are more at risk.