Young people could be more at risk of mouth cancer due to a change in sexual practices.
Professor Stephen Porter, the director of University College London's Eastman Dental Institute, stated there was evidence to show the rise in the amount of cases of the disease in younger individuals was caused by Human Papilloma Virus - the same virus that is responsible for the majority of cervical cancer incidences in females.
"This virus is acquired sexually, for example through oral sex, and there are now reports suggesting that, at least in parts of the US, this will become the major cause of oral cancer," he said.
Mouth cancer has traditionally been attributed to tobacco and alcohol, but the expert believes the increased cases of the illness in the young could be due to the promotion of oral sex as campaigners attempt to reduce the number of sexually transmitted infections and avoid unwanted pregnancies.
More than 60,000 individuals in the UK could be diagnosed with mouth cancer during the next ten years, according to the British Dental Health Foundation.