This study examined tobacco use as a risk factor in the development of periodontal disease as dental emergency and dental readiness among soldiers. A total of 884 soldiers were followed: 650 recruits and 234 professional active veterans. They were categorized into dental readiness classes, and questionnaires were completed about tobacco use. Overall, 62.7% of soldiers reported current smoking, with a higher prevalence of smokers among recruits. The results showed a significant difference in smokers vs. non-smokers in dental readiness, supragingival/subgingival calculus, gingivitis, and Class 3 dental fitness. More recruits (63.8%) smoked than veterans (59.4%), but greater prevalence of daily cigarette smoking and duration of smoking habits was found among veterans. In both groups, soldiers who smoked were characterized by a higher percentage of periodontal health problems and decreased combat readiness compared to soldiers who did not smoke. This indicates a need for oral health prevention program, and cigarette smoking and cessation programs.
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