Until recently most cancers of the oral cavity were blamed on exposure to tobacco smoke and excessive consumption of alcohol. Recent advances suggest the major culprit may indeed be the chronic infection with the wart virus. Although more than 100 different types of human papillomavirus (HPV) exist, only a restricted number appear related to cancer. Interestingly these oral cancers seem to be associated with the same types that affect the genital region. In effect both cervical cancer and oral cancer appear to be sexually transmitted diseases.