Purpose: The aim of the present case-control study was to investigate if an association exists between occupation and oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) in a Brazilian population. Methods: This population-based study investigated occupation which was classified according to the International Standard Classification of Occupations. It was included 665 individuals, being 133 cases of OSCC, selected from reference hospitals for cancer in Paraíba and 532 being part of a control group, paired by age, gender, place and smoking habit took part in the study. Results: There was statistically association between OSCC to occupation (p<0.001), alcohol consumption (p<0.001) and marital status (p=0.003). The variables marital status, occupation, alcoholism and smoking were shown to be statistically associated with the development of cancer of the oropharynx with OR ranging from 1.8 to 11.2 Conclusion: Occupational exposure to chemical and physical carcinogenic substances, as well as marital status may be raised as possible risk factors for the development of cancer of the mouth and oropharynx.