Trench mouth (Necrotizing ulcerative gingivis)

Dental professionals worldwide continuously stress the importance of practicing good oral hygiene habits to their patients in order to manage their oral health. Unfortunately, many people still are unaware of the serious consequences of poor oral hygiene habits and the painful effects they can have on the mouth.

Necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, better known as trench mouth, is a severe form of gingivitis that causes painful, infected, bleeding gums and ulcerations. Although trench mouth is uncommon, certain people – such as malnourished children and young adults, smokers and people with immunodeficiencies – are more susceptible to this gum disease. Poor oral hygiene practices and increased levels of physical and emotional stress also are predisposing factors for trench mouth.


Trench Mouth Diagnosis

To properly diagnose trench mouth, dentists generally perform a thorough clinical examination of your teeth and gums. To determine if the infection has caused extensive damage to the tissues, X-rays may be necessary. Your dentist also may perform other tests to eliminate the possibility of immunodeficiency and systemic diseases, or refer you to your physician.


Trench Mouth Symptoms

Trench mouth is most often characterized by significant and nearly unbearable pain, bleeding from the gums when they are pressed even gently, and necrotic and ulcerated gum tissues (resembling pockets or craters between the teeth). Trench mouth symptoms may also include oral malodor and a bad taste in the mouth, a grayish film on the gums, and a feeling of overall malaise. There is a tendency for relapse after trench mouth has been treated.


Trench Mouth Treatments

Trench mouth can be serious, so the sooner it is treated, the better the outcome. Treatment generally involves antibiotics, but over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers also may be needed to enable you to comfortably follow proper oral hygiene habits (brushing, flossing).

Treatment from your dentist or hygienist also involves a thorough cleaning of your teeth and gums and removal of any dead gum tissue. Further deep cleaning treatment below the gumline may be necessary from a periodontist (dentist specializing in diseases of the gums) and include local antibiotic therapies.

Eating a well-balanced diet, practicing good oral hygiene habits (brushing and flossing), drinking sufficient fluids, and getting enough rest are essential for managing your oral health. Since trench mouth can be painful, avoid smoking and consuming spicy foods, which can irritate the gums.



Nhan Tam Dental Clinic

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