Trench mouth is a dental problem characterised by the painful swelling of gums; it is also sometimes referred to as severe gingivitis, acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, or Vincent’s stomatitis. The term “trench mouth” was coined from the period of World War 1, when this disease became quite common among soldiers who had no way out from the trenches, and who had no means to properly take care of their oral health given the situation at that time. This dental problem is rare nowadays in developed countries, although it can be common in developing nations where the people have poor nutrition or live in less than adequate health conditions.
Trench mouth results from the presence of too much normal mouth bacteria; the bacteria causes the gums to become infected and become painful, bleeding with ulcerations. The presence of viruses can also aggravate this dental problem.
Trench Mouth Symptoms
- Painful, red and/or swollen gums
- Presence of ulcers that look like craters between teeth
- Bad breath
- Foul taste in the mouth
- Gums that are covered with a grayish film (caused by decomposed gum tissue)
- Profuse bleeding of the gums with the slightest pressure
Facial or dental x-rays may also be used by a dentist to arrive at a proper diagnosis; a throat swab culture may also be obtained to rule out other dental problems that may be causing the symptoms.
Trench Mouth Treatment
Good oral hygiene is essential to trench mouth treatment – this includes proper and regular tooth brushing, as well as the regular use of dental floss to clean the spaces between teeth. Antibiotics may be prescribed by the dentist if fever is present. Over the counter pain relief medication may be used to help with the pain and discomfort. Warm saltwater rinses can also help in soothing irritated gums; when the gums have stopped being swollen or being tender, professional dental cleaning and plaque removal may be necessary to thoroughly deal with the trench mouth problem.
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