Aim: The aims of this study were to monitor the prevalence and progression of lifetime cumulative attachment loss (LCAL) in a group of young British male military recruits over a 3-year period, and to determine the relationship between signs of LCAL and selected periodontal variables.
Methods: 100 subjects, aged 16-20 years (mean 17 years) at baseline, were examined at 0 (baseline), 12 and 30 months. LCAL, probing depth, plaque, bleeding on probing, gingival colour and supra- and subgingival calculus were assessed on the mesio-buccal, disto-buccal, mesio-lingual and disto-lingual surfaces of all teeth present, excluding third molars. Data were analysed cross-sectionally at each examination.
Results: Over the period of the study, the prevalence of LCAL > or =1 and 2 mm ranged from 95-100%, whereas LCAL > or =3 mm ranged from 40-47%. The extent of LCAL > or =1 mm ranged from 76-86%. However, the extent of LCAL > or =2 mm was dramatically lower (10.5-12.7%), and LCAL > or =3 mm was uncommon (0.5-0.9%). Examining the number of subjects according to the number of sites affected above a threshold, showed that a small number of subjects have a large number of sites above threshold. Using Pearson's rank correlation coefficient a significant correlation (p<0.05) was found between LCAL and the periodontal variables of gingival bleeding and supra- and subgingival calculus.
Conclusions: These data suggest that the onset and progression of chronic periodontitis can be seen in young adults, and in this group gingival bleeding and supra- and subgingival calculus are the variables most strongly associated with early periodontitis.