Trench mouth

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Trench mouth is a severe gum infection brought about by the accumulation of bacteria in the mouth. It is characterized by bleeding, sore gums and ulcers. The mouth naturally contains a balanced number of healthy bacteria, viruses and fungi. Nevertheless, poor oral hygiene can cause detrimental bacteria to multiply. Sensitive, reddened and bleeding gums are indications of gingivitis. Remember that trench mouth is a rapidly progressing form of gingivitis.

Trench mouth is quite common among adolescents and younger adults. It is a serious condition but considered rare. It is quite common in underdeveloped countries and areas that have poor nutrition and living conditions.

Possible causes of trench mouth

Trench mouth is triggered by an infection of the gums due to the abundance of detrimental bacteria. If the individual has gingivitis, he/she is already at risk for developing the advanced infection.

The condition is also associated to the following risk factors:

Trench mouth
Trench mouth is triggered by an infection of the gums due to the abundance of detrimental bacteria.
  • Smoking
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Stress
  • Poor nutrition
  • Diabetes
  • Weak immune system
  • Infection of the teeth, mouth or throat

The infection can become worse and even damage the gum tissue if not treated. This can cause various issues including the formation of ulcers and possible tooth loss.

Indications of trench mouth

It is vital that you are familiar with the symptoms of trench mouth so that early treatment can be started to prevent any complications. Even though the symptoms are similar to gingivitis, they progress in a rapid manner.

  • Fever
  • Bad breath or bad taste in the mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Bleeding as a response to irritation or pressure
  • Crater-like ulcers in the mouth
  • Grayish film on the gums
  • Pain in the gums
  • Gums that are reddened, swollen or bleeding


With proper treatment, trench mouth can be managed in a matter of weeks. The treatment usually includes antibiotics to prevent the infection from spreading, pain medications, professional cleaning and proper oral hygiene.

Brushing and flossing the teeth thoroughly at least 2 times in a day are vital in controlling the symptoms of trench mouth. A warm salt water rinse and rinsing using hydrogen peroxide can relieve the pain due to the swollen gums as well as eliminate the dead tissue.

In addition, it is also recommended to avoid smoking and eating spicy or hot foods while the gums are given time to heal.

What is the outlook?

A trench mouth is considered as a serious oral health problem. As an advanced infection, it is rare in developed countries due to ready access to preventive care.

It is sad to note that the condition still remains an issue in developing countries due to lack of oral care tools. The ideal way to prevent dental issues such as trench mouth is to ensure proper care of the teeth and gums with regular brushing and flossing.

A dentist should be seen at least 2 times in a year to detect any possible issues that might arise and progress into severe infections.

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