Purpose: Dental care in Italy is carried out mainly by private professionals and therefore the collection of epidemiological data on dental health is not often possible. Thus, the aim of this study was to collect the DMFT and CPITN values in a population of young Italian male subjects, namely call-up soldiers and cadets, and relate them to the socio-economic status of the subjects. Material and Methods: The sample was made up of two groups from different Italian academies: call-up soldiers: 1184 male call-up soldiers aged from 19 to 25; cadets: 2477 cadets aged from 19 to 25. The level of education was evaluated by means of a questionnaire which the soldiers had to fill in before being examined. Two trained dentists carried out the epidemiological survey following WHO guidelines. Data elaboration was carried out at the WHO Collaboration Centre of Milan for Epidemiologist and Community Dentistry. Data on DMFT were compared by ANOVA. A p value < 0.01 was considered as statistically significant. Results: The mean DMFT value observed was 3.69 ± 3.31. The differences between the two groups were statistically significant for D e F components (p < 0.05). The caries-free rate is lower in the call-up soldiers group (12.57%) than that reported for the cadets group (25.26%) and the difference was statistically significant (p < 0.01). Statistically significant differences were observed in DMFT values between the two groups stratified by educational level. A healthy periodontium was observed in more than 50% of the sample. In the call-up soldiers group, 40.95% had healthy periodontal conditions; 40.25% of the subjects showed bleeding on probing; 19.03% presented with calculus; and 2.77% presented periodontal pockets 4–5 mm deep. In the cadets group, 57.95% had healthy periodontal conditions; 38.18% of the subjects showed bleeding on probing; 3.52% presented with calculus; and 0.35% presented periodontal pockets 4–5 mm deep. The differences in proportion between the two groups were always statistically significant except for the bleeding score where an almost similar percentage for both groups was recorded. Conclusion: The results showed that call-up soldiers have a higher DMFT index and the D value is higher in less educated subjects. Bleeding on probing did not vary either between call-up soldiers and cadets or among socio-economic subgroups. Such results have underlined the need of a systematical information campaign on oral hygiene in Italian schools.
Keywords: epidemiology, dental caries, DMFT, CPITN