Maintaining a healthy oral care regimen is essential to making sure the teeth remain strong, effective, and durable. Lack of proper oral care can lead to future oral complications, such as tooth decay, tooth loss, and periodontal disease. For individuals who have failed to take care of their gums and teeth, they may develop trench mouth, which is even more severe than gum disease.
Although this infection is rare, it’s most common amongst individuals between the ages of 15 to 35. Understanding what causes this infection and being aware of its symptoms will help individuals take better care of their teeth in order to prevent this complication from occurring.
The term originated during World War I, when many soldiers lived in the trenches and were unable to properly tend to their oral hygiene. Their mouths developed an infection that caused major inflammation and ulcers in the gums. The swelling of the gums is more painful for individuals who experience trench mouth than gingivitis.
Trench mouth develops when there is an imbalance of bacteria in the mouth. The body normally regulates itself and maintains a balance of various oral bacteria, but when there is an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria in the mouth, that’s when the gums get infected, and the bacteria potentially make way for viruses. Besides poor oral hygiene, other causes include emotional stress, lack of proper nutrition, smoke, and other throat, tooth, and mouth infections.
Individuals who have an immune system disease, such as HIV, are more susceptible to experiencing trench mouth.
When individuals develop trench mouth, it doesn’t take long to experience symptoms. The most common symptoms include bad breath, ulcers around the teeth, fever, bad taste in the mouth, red and swollen gums, pain in gums, irritation, swollen lymph nodes, bleeding of the gums, and a gray or yellowish-white film covering the gums.
Because trench mouth causes necrotic tissues, part of the treatment process includes removing the necrotic tissue, prescribing antibiotics, applying hydrogen peroxide, and rinsing the mouth with a combination of warm water and saline. Individuals will also have to improve their oral hygiene, eat a nutritious diet, and decrease their stress levels. Dentists may even prescribe a topical anesthetic rinse to make the condition less uncomfortable as they undergo the healing process.
At McBride Dental, we advise our patients to maintain their annual appointments with us so they can take advantage of our preventative care services to ensure their teeth and gums remain healthy and strong. During an appointment with us, we perform X-rays, deep cleanings, and any other preventative care procedures to help individuals avoid developing oral issues later. We also provide easy home-care tips for our patients to apply in between visits with us. If you are in the San Diego area and would like to schedule an appointment, call our office today at 760-471-1003.