The survey, carried out by the Oral Health Foundation, shows 33% of Brits are unaware smoking causes oral cancer.
More than half (57%) didn’t realise alcohol can contribute to the disease too.
‘Our awareness of mouth cancer remains staggering low,’ chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, said.
‘Education about mouth cancer is without doubt the biggest roadblock we face in transforming the landscape of the disease.
‘Both the number of people being diagnosed with mouth cancer, and those losing their life to the disease, can be dramatically improved with more information about the causes and early warning signs.’
Only 36% of people recognise the early warning signs of oral cancer, the survey shows.
Last year more than 8,300 people in the UK were diagnosed with mouth cancer.
It’s one of the fastest-growing cancers in the country, with cases jumping by 135% over the last 20 years.
‘Being Mouthaware is about being able to recognise and act on any changes in our mouth,’ continues Dr Carter.
‘By regularly examining the mouth and seeking professional help quickly, we can improve our chances of beating the disease.’
The Oral Health Foundation is encouraging people to become ‘Mouthaware’ and learning more about oral cancer.
Spotting oral cancer early can greatly improve the chances of survival.
The disease is also linked to lifestyle, there are many things that can be done to reduce the number of cases.
‘By making a few simple changes to our lifestyle, we can considerably lessen our risk of mouth cancer,’ Dr Carter concludes.
‘Cutting down on alcohol, quitting tobacco and eating healthier, will not only reduce our chance developing mouth cancer but will also provide wider benefits to our general health.’