Trench Mouth

Trench mouth is severe form of gingivitis that can cause extremely painful infection, gum bleeding and ulcer in the mouth. Though trench mouth is not so common in developed countries it is highly recorded in countries which are under-developed, with improper diet and poor standard of living. Necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (abbreviated as NUG) is scientific term used to refer to Trench Mouth. This condition was highly recorded in soldiers of World War I; particularly in those who were stuck in trenches. Though the condition is extremely serious it is not contagious.

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NUG is a serious infection of the gums caused commonly due to accumulation of bacteria in mouth. The condition is often recognized through bleeding of gum accompanied with pain. Mouth is generally complemented with colonization of bacteria, fungi and viruses. Poor hygiene of the mouth may cause harmful bacteria to grow and cause issues. Gingivitis is categorized by redness, bleeding or sensitivity of the gum. Necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis is conditions that can results out of common gingivitis and it is fast progressing. Though the dental problem is rare it is recorded in people ageing between 15 to 35 years of age.

Symptoms of Trench Mouth

There are several symptoms and signs that can indicate existence of trench mouth. These symptoms are:

  • Severe pain in the gums
  • Gums bleeding easily even with slight pressure
  • Gum becoming red
  • Swollen gums
  • Experiencing pain while chewing and swallowing
  • Gums becoming coated with gray film
  • Sores and/ or ulcers appearing on gums
  • Crater like sore occurring between teeth
  • Consistent foul taste
  • Halitosis or foul breath
  • Malaise
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Trench mouth causes

Mouth is normally colonized with micro-organism like virus, bacteria as well as fungi. Biomechanics of the body is normal; these organisms do not create problems and are generally healthy. If immune system does not function properly and fail to fight infection optimally then it increases the risk of bacteria becoming harmful. This is one of the factors that may lead to trench mouth due to unrestricted growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth. Infections may also destroy Gingiva, which are delicate gum tissues that support every tooth. Ulcer that is present in mouth is often filled with bacteria, food debris and decaying tissues. This can cause pain and other symptoms associated with trench mouth. There are certain recognized causes of trench mouth that includes:

  • Poor hygiene of mouth and teeth
  • Smoking addiction
  • Stress
  • Malnutrition
  • Affected immune system
  • Any sort of dental infection include throat infection


Mostly, a dentist can recognize the condition just by inspecting the gums and teeth, in clinic itself. In some cases dental x-rays are suggested to patient in order to determine whether there is any sort of bone loss due to infection. If a dentist fails to diagnose the condition, then he may recommend consulting general doctor who will try to determine the cause of the complication. GP may suggest complete blood test and other possible screenings to confirmedly understand the root cause. This will also help in determining whether there is any unaddressed medical issue.

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Trench mouth treatment

Trench mouth treatments are often effective with higher rate of success. Effect can be experience in approximately two weeks. Healing may sometimes take longer time if immune system is weak. Treatment also involves maintaining dental hygiene which includes cleaning gums and teeth regularly and gently. Doctor may suggest antiseptic solutions to also rinse your mouth daily.

If suitable, doctor will also recommend you undergoing special dental procedures such as ‘scaling’ or ‘root-planning’, etc. These procedures can eradicate accumulated food debris, plaque and tartar. It also polishes the rough teeth surface to avoid accumulation of plague. Your gum are often tender after the procedure thus your dentist will also prescribe hydrogen peroxide solution to rinse your mouth regularly. He may also suggest brushing teeth daily in the morning as well as before bedtime.

Dentists may also recommend drugs to deal with trench mouth. Antibiotics are often prescribed as the first line of treatment because overgrowth of bacteria is also recorded in case of trench mouth. If pain is intense then one should take pain relieving medicines. You may either be prescribed a medicine or you will be asked to buy one over-the-counter.

Your doctor will also suggest topical anesthetic to be applied directly on the teeth in order to relieve pain. There are anesthetic mouthwashes, which contain chlorhexidine, that are available for relieving pain, but these should be taken as suggested by the dentist. These are often beneficial as they can reduce bacterial load in mouth and help in speedy recovery.

In rare cases surgery may be needed. Gums may become normal through medications and home-care techniques, but if serious damages are detected then one may have to undergo gum surgery. These surgeries are beneficial as gums can be repaired through these operations.

Trench mouth pictures

trench mouth pictures 2 trench mouth pictures Necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis trench mouth

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