Purpose: The aim of the present study was to assess the oral mucosal health status of young male adults (aged 18 to 24 years) in Switzerland and to correlate their clinical findings with self-reported risk factors such as tobacco use and alcohol consumption. Materials and Methods: Data on the oral health status of 615 Swiss Army recruits were collected using a standardised selfreported questionnaire, followed by an intraoral examination. Positive clinical findings were classified as (1) common conditions and anatomical variants, (2) reactive lesions, (3) benign tumour lesions and (4) premalignant lesions. The main locations of the oral mucosal findings were recorded on a topographical classification chart. Using correlational statistics, the findings were further associated with the known risk factors such as tobacco use and alcohol consumption. Results: A total of 468 findings were diagnosed in 327 (53.17%) of the 615 subjects. In total, 445 findings (95.09%) were classified as common conditions, anatomical variants and reactive soft-tissue lesions. In the group of reactive soft-tissue lesions, there was a significantly higher percentage of smokers (P < 0.001) and subjects with a combination of smoking and alcohol consumption (P < 0.001). Eight lesions were clinically diagnosed as oral leukoplakias associated with smokeless tobacco. The prevalence of precursor lesions in the population examined was over 1%. Conclusions: Among young male adults in Switzerland, a significant number of oral mucosal lesions can be identified, which strongly correlate with tobacco use. To improve primary and secondary prevention, young adults should therefore be informed more extensively about the negative effects of tobacco use on oral health.
Keywords: alcohol consumption, epidemiology, oral lesions, oral mucosal alterations, tobacco use, young adults