Trench Mouth

1 What is Trench Mouth?

Trench mouth is a more severe form of gingivitis which is associated with pain, infected bleeding gums, and ulcerations. This is a rare disease in developed nations. It is more common in the developing countries as a result of poor nutrition and poor living conditions. 

Trench mouth is also referred to as the necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (NUG). This name was coined as a result of its high prevelance among the soldiers that were stuck in the trenches during the 1st world war. They did not have the means of taking care of their teeth. This is not a contagious disease.

2 Symptoms

Trench Mouth is characterized by symptoms like:

  • severe hum pain,
  • bleeding,
  • slightly red or swollen gums.

Victims always feel pain when eating and swallowing. It promotes the formation of the gray film on the gums. It also leads to formation of crater like sores (ulcers) between your teeth and your gums.  

It also comes with a foul taste in the mouth, leading to bad breath. Sometimes, fever and fatigue, swollen lymph nodes around the head, neck and jaw. It is recommended that one needs to see a doctor quickly so as to avoid the disease from developing quickly. 

See the doctor immediately if you develop the symptoms for trench mouth disease. The reddening of the gums may be as a result of the gum infection (periodontitis) or another form of gingivitis

All gum infections are serious and can get worse when not treated. Hence, early disease diagnosis and treatment is important to prevent loss of teeth and destruction of bones or other tissues.

3 Causes

In conditions of low immune system, the body ability to fight infections is weak and this can cause trench mouth. This allows bacteria to grow out of control. Your mouth naturally contains normal micro flora such as fungi, virus, and bacteria. 

The infections can destroy the delicate gums tissues (gingiva) which surrounds and supports your teeth. Large ulcers in the mouth can also develop which are always filled with bacteria, debris of food remnants and decaying tissues on the gums. 

This may lead to severe pain, bad breath and foul smell in the mouth. The gum is destroyed in the long run. Enzymes and bacteria have a role to play in the formation of the foul smell in the mouth.

4 Making a Diagnosis

Diagnosis of trench mouth can be done by examination of the teeth and mouth. Dental x-rays can also be done to determine bone loss after an infection. If it is determined that you have trench mouth, your doctor may refer you to a primary doctor for extra exams and blood tests. This will also determine if you have other medical conditions such as HIV which may lead to trench mouth.

5 Treatment

Treatment of the trench mouth can be effective and complete for the healing to occur quickly in a few weeks. However, healing can also take more time of your immune system is weak by diseases such as HiV/AIDS. 

Medication for trench mouth may include the use of antibiotics, since bacteria are involved in the pathogenesis of the disease. Pain reliever from over the counter prescription can also be used in managing pain and getting back to better dental care habits of brushing and flossing. Topical anesthetics can also be applied in the management of pain. 

Antiseptic mouth wash containing chlorhexidine can decrease the bacterial population in the mouth and promote speedy recovery. Cleaning teeth and gums using a clean tooth brush may also help. Rinse the mouth with a good antiseptic solution. The teeth can also be scaled or root planned when the gums are less tender. 

This will also help remove plaques and tartar from the gum line and smooth or any roughened surface of your teeth with bacteria. Your doctor can also advise you to use Hydrogen peroxide mouthwash, salt, water or mouth rinse. Brushing your teeth with soft tooth brush. 

When the gums begin to heal, brush and floss the teeth twice a day. This when done after every meal and before bed time will reduce future problems. Surgical procedure will only be an option when all the steps have failed especially in the case of extensive damage of the gums.

6 Prevention

It is advisable to practice good health habits to prevent the risk of developing trench mouth. Good oral hygiene involves brushing and flossing your teeth once a day or as recommended. Use regular professional cleaning. 

Antiseptic mouthwash can be of help. An electric toothbrush is also effective compared to a manual toothbrush. Do not use tobacco products. Eat healthy by taking a balanced diet. Use plenty of fruits and vegetables; choose whole meals and grains instead of using refined foods. 

Use healthy proteins such as fish or legumes and opt for low fat dairy foods. Manage both physical and emotional stress. Manage your overall well-being. Exercise, relax, and use your hobbies as healthy ways of coping with stress.

7 Lifestyle and Coping

Trench mouth disease is extremely painful and self-care and lifestyle management strategies will be useful in reducing the pain. This can be achieved by avoiding to use tobacco and its products. 

Using painkillers, avoiding spicy and hot foods which may cause irritation of the gums, drink plenty of water so as to remain hydrated, and avoid carbonated drinks and beverages and avoid alcohol. Get plenty of rest as a way of reducing physical and emotional stress. Eat healthily as a way of improving nutrition.

8 Risks and Complications

There are several risks and complications associated with trench mouth.

It is known that several factors can aggravate trench mouth disease. This allows the bacteria to start control. Poor oral hygiene by failing to brush and floss regularly allow bacteria to thrive and plaques and debris to grow. Malnourished children in developing countries are trench mouth. 

Smoking or chewing tobacco should be avoided. It also harms the blood vessels of your gums allowing bacteria to grow. It may also lead to throat, tooth and other mouth infections. In case of gingivitis, and not managed effectively, it can grow to trench mouth. 

Emotional stress can also lower your immune system reducing the body’s defense against harmful bacteria. It also creates a compromised immune system for people undergoing treatment for suppression of the immune system are at a higher risk of infections such as HIV/AIDs, cancer or mononucleosis

Trench can also happen at any mouth and is common in the developing countries due to malnutrition and poor sanitation. It is rare in developed nations as a result of use of antibiotics.

Trench mouth infection can lead to troubled eating and swallowing due to pain. It also caused temporary and permanent destruction of the gum tissues, tooth loss as a result of bone damage.

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