This study investigated the current knowledge and practices of general medical practitioners (GMPs) in Ireland regarding the examination of the oral cavity and the detection of oral malignancy and the training they had received at both undergraduate and postgraduate level and since commencing in practice. A questionnaire survey of GMPs in Ireland was conducted. One hundred and fifty four (65.3%) of the practitioners reported regularly examining the oral mucosa of their patients. Almost half of these (n = 68) further qualified this response by stating that they only examined the oral mucosa if the patient reported pain in this area or if the patient specifically requested an oral examination for some reason. Eighty one (34.3%) practitioners surveyed felt con. dent in their ability to detect oral malignancies with the remaining two thirds unsure of whether they would be able to detect oral cancer. There was a significant association between the undergraduate and postgraduate teaching on examination of the oral cavity and whether practitioners felt con. dent in their ability to detect oral cancer [chi(2)(1) = 4.811, p < 0.05]. A statistically significant association was also found between the undergraduate and postgraduate teaching on the diagnosis of oral malignant disease and whether practitioners felt con. dent in their ability to detect oral cancer [chi(2)(1) = 6.194, p < 0.05]. In conclusion the level of knowledge of Irish general medical practitioners needs to be addressed with appropriate initiatives both at undergraduate level and via CME. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.