Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis, colloquially known as trench mouth, is a form of gum disease. This very painful infection leads to bleeding gums, ulcers in the gums, and excessive salivation. It is also often accompanied by foul breath. It has a collection of common symptoms and predisposing risk factors, but it can usually be prevented and treated with proper oral hygiene habits.
Trench mouth comes about when harmful bacteria is able to grow in the mouth. It is a rapidly progressing form of gingivitis. Its name dates back to World War I, when it was common for soldiers to experience severe gum and dental problems. Soldiers did not have much access to dental care or any way of maintaining their oral hygiene while in battle. Trench mouth became a common concern for those who were unable to brush, floss, and take other precautionary measures.
Signs and Symptoms of Trench Mouth
The first key to catching trench mouth early is to identify its symptoms. Getting timely treatment will help to prevent complications and will allow damage to be halted, decreased, or even reversed.
Common symptoms of trench mouth include:
- Bad breath or a bad mouth taste
- Bleeding in response to irritation or pressure
- Ulcers in the mouth
- Grayish film on the gums
- Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
- Pain in the gums
Diagnosis is usually done during an examination. Its trademark symptoms, which include gum sensitivity and bleeding, are generally enough to diagnose trench mouth. If you have other conditions, or are taking immunosuppressant drugs, that will be taken into account as well. You may also need to receive an x-ray to see if the infection has spread into the bone beneath your gums.
Common Risk Factors of Trench Mouth
Someone with gingivitis is already at a higher risk of developing trench mouth. You are likely to be susceptible to this overgrowth of bacteria if you have poor dental hygiene, eat a poor diet, smoke, or are constantly stressed out. Pre existing illnesses, such as mouth, teeth, or throat infections, diabetes, HIV/AIDS or an otherwise weakened immune system, will all contribute to one’s likelihood of developing trench mouth.
Treatment of Trench Mouth
The infection will worsen if left untreated. If ignored, it will place the individual at risk for tissue damage, ulcers, and potential tooth loss.
It can typically be cured in only a matter of weeks!
- Antibiotics to stop the spread
- Pain relievers
- Professional dental cleaning
- Implementing proper oral hygiene skills
Adopting healthy habits is important during this time. Additionally, it is recommended that you avoid smoking and eating spicy or excessively hot foods during this time.
Preventing Trench Mouth
Ignoring the symptoms can lead to serious complications and health risks.
Proper dental hygiene is crucial in preventing trench mouth. Regular dental visits, and getting timely care for any issues that do come about, will ensure that your efforts are paying off and that anything that does arise is taken care of quickly!
If you suspect that you may have trench mouth or another gum disease, or if you are simply concerned about your dental and periodontal health, schedule an appointment with BC Perio Dental Health & Implant Centre today. Your health is important to us and we will work with you to make sure that your smile is in its best shape for the holiday season!