Can extreme temperature and air pressure shifts help or hinder your oral health?

In June this year, a study presented at a dental congress in Dresden Germany, found that great temperature changes can promote the formation of dental and facial abscesses.

According to the study, large shifts in air temperature, air pressure and humidity are considered to play an influential role in the development of dental abscesses.

To demystify whether ‘abscess weather’ really exists, the study examined 1000 patients over a ten year period, from 2005-2015.

People with abscesses were admitted to the department of oral and maxillofacial surgery at the university hospital and the cause and location were recorded. Simultaneously, the weather data for the day was analysed.

The study showed that a greater number of people with abscesses presented to the university hospital on days with great variances of temperature.

Interestingly, the static weather data such as temperature, air pressure and humidity had no significant influence on the frequency of abscesses.

Another study carried out by Austrian researchers in 2015, identified that in periods of low barometric pressure, the frequency of dental abscesses also increased. 

With predictions for erratic weather just around the corner—we may need to add a few extra appointments to deal with those summer storms!

So what is a dental absecess?

It’s a bacterial infection that’s generally caused by an infected tooth, a decayed tooth, or an infected gum, or bone area of the jaw. The main cause of an abscess is decay or trauma.

There are two common types of abscess found in the mouth. These are:

  • A tooth abscess, which occurs when the nerve inside the tooth is infected and happens when the tooth’s nerve is dead or dying. The abscess appears at the tip of the tooth’s root and can spread into the surrounding bone. 
  • A gum (periodontal) abscess is a localised collection of pus and can occur when bacteria get into the space between the tooth and gums.

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