The incidence of early onset oral tongue squamous cell carcinoma (OTC) has been increasing in the United States, and no clear etiology has been identified. Studies on this topic have generally been small and presented varied results. The goal of this review is to analyze and synthesize the literature regarding early onset OTC risk factors, outcomes, and molecular analyses within the US. To date, studies suggest that early onset OTC patients tend to have less heavy cigarette use than typical onset patients, but there may be an association between early onset OTC and smokeless tobacco (chewing tobacco and snuff) use. Early onset OTC is associated with similar or possibly improved survival compared to typical onset OTC. There has been no evidence to support a significant role for human papillomavirus in development of early onset OTC. Further research with larger cohorts of these patients is needed to better characterize this disease entity.