Oral carcinogenesis involves the progression of the normal mucosa into potentially malignant disorders and finally into cancer. Tumors are heterogeneous, with different clusters of cells expressing different genes and exhibiting different behaviors. 4-nitroquinoline 1-oxide (4-NQO) and arecoline were used to induce oral cancer in mice, and the main factors for gene expression influencing carcinogenesis were identified through single-cell RNA sequencing analysis. Male C57BL/6J mice were divided into two groups: a control group (receiving normal drinking water) and treatment group (receiving drinking water containing 4-NQO (200 mg/L) and arecoline (500 mg/L)) to induce the malignant development of oral cancer. Mice were sacrificed at 8, 16, 20, and 29 weeks. Except for mice sacrificed at 8 weeks, all mice were treated for 16 weeks and then either sacrificed or given normal drinking water for the remaining weeks. Tongue lesions were excised, and all cells obtained from mice in the 29- and 16-week treatment groups were clustered into 17 groups by using the Louvain algorithm. Cells in subtypes 7 (stem cells) and 9 (keratinocytes) were analyzed through gene set enrichment analysis. Results indicated that their genes were associated with the MYC_targets_v1 pathway, and this finding was confirmed by the presence of cisplatin-resistant nasopharyngeal carcinoma cell lines. These cell subtype biomarkers can be applied for the detection of patients with precancerous lesions, the identification of high-risk populations, and as a treatment target.