India Today explains that trench mouth is a painful bacterial infection that involves swelling (inflammation) and ulcers in the gums (gingivae). Trench mouth is a painful form of gum swelling (gingivitis). The term "trench mouth" comes from World War I, when the disorder was common among soldiers.
What Is Trench Mouth?
Who Is Affected By This Condition?
Trench mouth can affect anyone who does not practice proper mouth care, or who cannot or does not access regular dental cleaning, though it is quite rare in nations with modern healthcare. It is still sometimes observed in younger males, possibly due to the reluctance to seek treatment until it becomes very painful. Other factors include a poor diet and a lack of knowledge about oral hygiene.
The disease can be caused or exacerbated by factors such as a compromised immune system, a history of smoking, infections in the mouth or existing health conditions like diabetes or HIV/AIDS. A history of gingivitis (gum disease), especially in combination with poor oral hygiene and missed dental appointments, can greatly increase the chances of developing this condition. Inadequate nutrition and diet choices can also be contributing factors.
India Today further outlines the symptoms of trench mouth as bad breath, crater-like ulcers between the teeth, fever, foul taste in the mouth, gums appear reddened and swollen, greyish film on the gums, painful gums, profuse gum bleeding in response to any pressure or irritation.
A simple oral exam by a dentist is enough for a diagnosis with the above symptoms, and the condition can be initially treated with a cleaning of the gums and teeth by a dental hygienist.
To decrease infection, a dentist may prescribe antibiotics, along with an antibacterial rinse. The rinse can also be used by the dental hygienist during the cleaning to help relieve the pain caused by the infected gums.
Once the patient is relieved of the symptoms of this painful condition, regular visits to a dentist and dental hygienist will help prevent it from occurring again, and ensure a lifetime of healthy gums.
This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.