University of Oulu

Pertti Patinen, and others, General- and Oral-Health-Related Predisposing Factors for Interrupting Military Service in the Finnish Defence Forces, Military Medicine, Volume 188, Issue 1-2, January-February 2023, Pages e260–e266,

General- and oral-health-related predisposing factors for interrupting military service in the Finnish defence forces

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Author: Patinen, Pertti1; Tanner, Tarja2; Honkanen, Jesse3;
Organizations: 1Finnish Defence Forces, Centre for Military Medicine, Riihimäki 11311, Finland
2Research Unit of Oral Health Sciences, University of Oulu, Oulu 90220, Finland
3Institute of Dentistry, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio 70211, Finland
4Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Diseases, University of Helsinki, and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki 00014, Finland
5HUS, Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
6Research Unit of Mathematical Sciences, University of Oulu, Oulu 90014, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Oxford University Press, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-09-01


Introduction: Finland’s security policy relies heavily on its own independent national defense, which is based on conscription. In 2011, 26,492 conscripts started their military service in Finland. Of these, 1,706 interrupted their military service and 191 changed to civilian service. Conscripts who interrupt their service seem to have an increased tendency to smoking, alcohol consumption, and taking snuff, which previous studies suggest to have strong associations with the need for restorative dental treatment and with lower socioeconomic status. The aim of this study was to compare the general and oral health habits between Finnish conscripts who interrupt their service and those who completed their military service and to find out what general- and oral-health-related factors could be used in predicting interruption of service.

Methods: The study population consisted of 13,819 conscripts taking an oral examination during the service. Of these, 8,449 answered a computer-based anamnestic questionnaire and 264 interrupted their service. Predisposing factors on the anamnestic questionnaire for interrupting military service were evaluated by using a binary logistic regression model. The statistically significant factors were selected to form a sum variable which finally consisted of seven predisposing questions. Odds ratio (OR) values and 95% confidence intervals were calculated for each question and for the sum variable. Predictive accuracy was assessed by area under the receiver-operating curve.

Results: The most obvious predisposing factor among those who interrupted their service compared to the reference group was lack of weekly physical exercise (OR = 5.80). The risk for interruption of military service was 68.6 times higher in cases where a subject exhibited six predisposing factors out of seven compared to those who had none.

Conclusion: As a conclusion, a set of statistically chosen anamnestic questions could help identify conscripts who have an increased risk of interruption of military service in addition to a risk of dental problems.

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Series: Military medicine
ISSN: 0026-4075
ISSN-E: 1930-613X
ISSN-L: 0026-4075
Volume: 188
Issue: 1-2
Pages: e260 - e266
DOI: 10.1093/milmed/usab311
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 313 Dentistry
Funding: The study was written during official duties. None of the writers had any funding for this article.
Copyright information: © Authors. The Association of Military Surgeons of the United States 2021. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.