Trench Mouth: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Trench mouth is an extreme form of gingivitis. It is a severe gum disease that causes bacterial infections, ulceration of gums, painful bleeding gums, etc.

Naturally, the human mouth contains a balance of healthy bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Nevertheless, poor dental hygiene can lead to harmful bacteria growth.

This type of disease is scarce in developed countries but very common in developing countries as a result of the poor standard of living and poor nutrition.

The health of our mouth is a vital aspect of our life and can easily take a bad shape if an individual does not maintain proper dental hygiene. Some problems of the mouth are difficult to avoid while others need little more than flossing and brushing. One of such problem, Trench Mouth, can be prevented in most cases only if a person knows what to do.

Trench mouth is a painful disease, but it can be easily treated and cured; if you take the proper medication and care at the right time.

Trench mouth

It is also known as acute necrotizing gingivitis, necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, and Vincent’s Stomastitis in medical terms. This disease can be traced back to World War l when the soldier started having it because they have no access to dental care while in the war front.

Trench mouth is most common in younger adults and teenagers. It is caused when there are a lot of bacteria in your mouth, and then the gums start developing an ulcer.

What causes trench mouth?

The real cause of this condition is still not completely known, but if you have gingivitis, you have a high chance of developing this condition. Also, it has been linked to one of the following risk factors:

  • Stress
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Nutritional deficiency
  • infection of the teeth, mouth, or throat
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Lowered immune system due to AIDS.

If left untreated or not treated at the proper time, the infection can get worse and damage gum tissue. This can lead to complications such as tooth loss, loss of tissues in the cheeks, ulcers, pain, dehydration, jawbone or lips, a severe gum disease known as Periodonititis.

Also Read: Bump On Gums: Causes And Treatment Options

What are the Symptoms of trench mouth?

Trench mouth symptoms can develop very fast. Once you develop any symptoms, please consult a good doctor. It is crucial for you to recognize the signs of trench mouth to able you prevent further complications and get timely treatment. The symptoms of gingivitis are similar to those of trench mouth.

The symptoms for trench mouth are:

  • Red or swollen gums
  • Fatigue
  • Bleeding from gums when brushing or press faintly
  • Fever
  • Severe gum pain
  • Bad breath or stinking taste inside the mouth
  • Swollen lymph nodes around your jaw or neck
  • craterlike ulcers in the mouth

How is trench mouth diagnosed?

Trench mouth can be diagnosed during an examination by your dentist. Your gums can be prod gently by your dentist to see how easily your gums bleed when poked. An X-ray may also be ordered to see if infections have spread to other part of your mouth.

Also, your dentist may draw your blood for examination to check for symptoms of some illnesses such as HIV and other immune conditions as they can promote bacteria growth in your mouth.

How is trench mouth treated?

This is a severe condition that should be treated as soon as possible, and the best manner to deal with this ailment is to prevent it from occurring. It can be cured in a few weeks. Treatment options include:

  1. Medications

There are lots of drugs available to treat trench mouth. They include:

  • . Antibiotics to prevent the infection from spreading to other parts of the mouth
  • . Pain relievers- to ease the pain caused by this condition. It may be in the form of a topical to be applied directly on the gums or pills.
  1. Dental Hygiene

Dental hygiene is a significant component for the treatment of trench mouth

  • . Proper ongoing oral care
  • . Professional cleaning from a dental hygienist.

Flossing and brushing your teeth thoroughly at least two times daily are essential for controlling the symptoms of these conditions. Also, making use of warm water-salt solution, mouthwash and hydrogen peroxide to rinse your mouth can ease the pain on the gum, kill harmful bacterias and also help remove dead tissue.

While your gums are on the healing process, it is recommended that you avoid eating spicy or hot food and even smoking.

Trench mouth

How can trench mouth be prevented?

To prevent this condition, it is crucial to have regular and proper dental care. Ensure you take the following steps regularly to avoid complications of this condition:

  • . Brush and floss your teeth twice daily to keep the bad bacteria under control. Electric brushes are recommended.
  • . Eat a healthy diet
  • . Stay off tobacco product like cigarettes


The ideal way to prevent any dental problems such as gingivitis and trench mouth is to take good care of the teeth and gums with regular brushing and flossing.

As soon as you take proper treatment for this condition, the sooner your gums will come back to its healthy state and prevent tooth loss or other complications. Remember to see your dentist at least twice yearly to detect any potential problems which may escalate into a serious condition.

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Gum disease. (n.d.).

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2017). Gingivitis: Symptoms and causes.