Following in the footsteps of Hippocrates—interrelation between the incidence of odontogenic abscess and meteorological parameters
Although many physicians in daily practice assume a connection between odontogenic infections and meteorological parameters, this has not yet been scientifically proven. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to evaluate the incidence of odontogenic abscess (OA) in relation to outdoor temperature and atmospheric pressure.
Patients and methods
An analysis of patients with an odontogenic abscess who presented at the emergency department within a period of 24 months was performed. Only patients who had not received surgical or antibiotic treatment prior to presentation and who lived in Berlin/Brandenburg were included. The OA incidence was correlated with the mean/maximum outdoor temperature and atmospheric pressure starting from 14 days before presentation. The statistical analysis was carried out using Poisson regression models with OA incidence as dependent and meteorological parameters as independent variables.
A total of 535 patients (mean age 39.4 years; range 1 to 95 years) with 538 cases were included. Of these, 227 were hospitalized. The most frequent diagnosis was a canine fossa abscess. A significant association between mean (p = 0.0153) and maximum temperature (p = 0.008) on the day of the presentation and abscess incidence was observed. Furthermore, a significant correlation between OA incidence and maximum temperature 2 days before presentation was found (p = 0.034). The deviation of the mean temperature on the day of the presentation from the monthly mean temperature had a significant influence (p = 0.021) on the incidence of OA. In contrast to temperature, atmospheric pressure had no significant influence on the incidence of OA.
This study supports a relationship between the incidence of odontogenic abscess and outdoor temperature, but not atmospheric pressure. A significantly higher frequency of patients with an OA presented at our emergency department on days with (comparably) low and high outdoor temperatures. Furthermore, a significant correlation between incidence and maximum temperature 2 days before presentation was found.
The treatment of odontogenic infections has become a significant economic burden to public health care facilities. The results of this study may help to adapt the numbers of doctors/dentists on duty in relation to different weather conditions. In any case, it is an impetus to think outside the box.