Trench mouth disease is a gum infection that is severe and it is characterized by painful bleeding, inflammations, and ulcerations. It causes a lot of pain and discomfort. This article provides some information about this mouth disease, its causes, symptoms, and treatment.
The other names of this disease are Vincent’s stomatitis and acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG). It is a rare kind of periodontal disease which got this typical name as it affected many soldiers during the World War I. This happened because those soldiers could not take adequate measures needed for their proper oral care. Usually, adults below the age of 35 are at a higher risk of getting affected by this problem.
Basically, this disease is triggered by a bacterial infection. In normal conditions, different types of microorganisms including bacteria are present inside the mouth but it does not cause any harm to the teeth and gums. This is because there is a right kind of balance of good bacteria and bad bacteria. However, when there is an abundant growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth, they start attacking the gums and cause infection. As a result, the soft gum tissues that provide support to the teeth get damaged. In worst cases, it may even lead to the formation of ulcers on the gums. The factors that are mainly held responsible for this kind of uncontrolled growth of disease causing bacteria are lack of proper oral hygiene, nutritional deficiency, mental stress, and smoking. The people affected by AIDS also tend to develop this disease.
The initial signs of trench mouth are bad breath and bad taste in the mouth. As these symptoms do not cause any kind of discomfort, one tends to ignore them. As a result, more serious symptoms are observed all of a sudden:
- Severe pain in the gums. This pain tends to get aggravated while eating.
- The gums appear red and swollen which when pressed causes excessive bleeding. One may get bleeding gums even when brushing.
- A grayish film may appear on the surface of the gums. This is an indication of decay in gum tissues.
- Ulcers caused due to this disease can be identified with crater-like painful sores that are formed mostly on the gums or in between the teeth.
- In some people, the infection may lead to swelling of the lymph nodes present in head, neck, or jaw area.
This disease is diagnosed with the help of a thorough dental check up and dental X-rays. To control the overgrowth of bacteria and prevent aggravation of the infection, dentists prescribe oral antibiotics. When the pain becomes unbearable, oral pain relieving medicines are given. Sometimes, dentists suggest the use of topical anesthetics which need to be applied on the gums for pain relief. This medicinal treatment should be accompanied by good dental care that includes brushing and flossing of teeth twice a day.
Dentists may recommend the thorough cleaning of the teeth and gums. This procedure is also referred to as debridement where dead gum tissues are removed, which in turn helps to provide relief from the painful gums. After the tenderness of the gums subside, another method of dental cleaning is used to clean up tartar and plaque that lies under the gum line. This process of deep cleaning of tooth is known as root planning. It has to be repeated a number of times till the disease is completely cured.
In the next few days after tooth cleaning, soreness may be felt in the gums. To get rid of this discomfort, one can rinse the mouth with saltwater solution that can be prepared by dissolving half a teaspoon of salt in one cup of water. Similarly, hydrogen peroxide mouthwash can be helpful in this regard. Dentists may prescribe a specific mouthwash as well. In the cases in which the disease has caused extensive damage to the gums, surgery is needed to repair the damage in the gums.
With timely treatment and proper oral care, one can recover from this disease within a couple of weeks. To prevent recurrence of this painful gum disease, maintaining proper oral hygiene is a must. Use a good quality toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush for brushing the teeth. It should be followed by flossing of teeth. It is recommended that one should brush and floss their teeth after every meal. An antiseptic mouthwash should be used to protect the gums from infection. A well-balanced diet is important to keep the gums and teeth healthy. Cigarettes and tobacco products should be strictly avoided, as they are bad for dental health.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.