Trench mouth is a painful bacterial infection that involves swelling (inflammation) and ulcers in the gums (gingivae).
Vincent’s stomatitis; Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis
Trench mouth is a painful form of gum swelling (
The mouth normally contains a balance of different bacteria. Trench mouth occurs when there is an overgrowth of normal mouth bacteria. The gums become infected and develop painful
Risks include the following:
- Poor nutrition
- Throat, tooth, or mouth infections
This disorder is rare. When it does occur, trench mouth most often affects persons ages 15 – 35.
- Crater-like ulcers between the teeth
- Foul taste in the mouth
- Gums appear reddened and swollen
- Grayish film on the gums
- Painful gums
- Profuse gum bleeding in response to any pressure or irritation
Note: Symptoms often begin suddenly.
Exams and Tests
The health care provider will look at your mouth for signs of trench mouth, including:
- Crater-like ulcers filled with plaque and food debris
- Destruction of gum tissue around the teeth
- Inflamed gums
There may be a gray film caused by broken down (decomposed) gum tissue. In some cases, there may be fever and swollen lymph nodes of the head and neck.
This disease may also be tested for by using a
The goals of treatment are to cure the infection and relieve symptoms. Your health care provider may prescribe antibiotics if you have a fever.
Good oral hygiene is vital to the treatment of trench mouth. Brush and floss your teeth thoroughly, at least twice a day, and preferably after each meal and at bedtime.
Salt water rinses (1/2 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of water) may soothe sore gums. Hydrogen peroxide, used to rinse the gums, is often recommended to remove dead or dying gum tissue. Chlorhexidine rinse will help with gum inflammation.
You may be asked to visit a dentist or dental hygienist to have your teeth professionally cleaned and to have the plaque removed, once your gums feel less tender. You may need frequent dental cleaning and examinations until the disorder is cleared.
To prevent the condition from coming back, your health care provider may give you instructions on how to:
Maintain good general health, including proper nutrition and exercise
Maintain good oral hygiene
Avoid irritants such as smoking and hot or spicy foods.
The infection usually responds to treatment. The disorder can be quite painful until it is treated. If trench mouth is not treated promptly, the infection can spread to the cheeks, lips, or jawbone and destroy these tissues.
- Loss of teeth
- Spread of infection
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call the dentist if you have symptoms of trench mouth, or if fever or other new symptoms develop.
Preventive measures include:
Good general health
Good oral hygiene, including thorough tooth brushing and flossing
Learning ways to cope with stress
Regular professional dental cleaning and exams