Clinical observations and existing literature suggest that severe periodontal disease near the maxillary sinuses may contribute to sinusitis and subsequently to chronic productive cough. The aim of the present study was to test this hypothesis. Sixty-five individuals with severe periodontitis affecting upper molars and premolars were selected. Clinical and radiographic examinations included gingival bleeding, clinical probing depth, and alveolar bone loss. In addition, two consecutive questionnaires about smoking habits, productive cough and postnasal drip before and after periodontal treatment were used. The test population was compared to a periodontally healthy control group that was stratified and matched for age, gender and smoking habits. The prevalence of productive cough and postnasal drip was 22% in the test group compared to 6% in the control group (p<0.05). Among the patients who were positive for productive cough 29% also suffered from recurrent sinusitis as diagnosed by an otolaryngologist. After periodontal treatment 43% of the cases reported reduced airway symptoms, although smoking habits were unchanged. The findings support a previous study suggesting that periodontitis affecting teeth near the maxillary sinuses may increase the risk for productive cough. The high prevalence of postnasal drip and diagnosed sinusitis suggests chronic secretory sinusitis as a possible link in the dentobronchial syndrome.
Keywords: periodontal disease, respiratory diseases, chronic productive cough, maxillary sinus, clinical study