Trench Mouth: Symptoms, Causative Agents, Factors, Diagnosis, Home Remedies, Treatment and Prognosis

Have you ever heard the name trench mouth, it is the condition of gums, involving painful ulcers and infection of gums. Due to this, the person may also feel fever, foul breath, and other related symptoms, which we will discuss in detail. Here the trench word is derived from the world war 1, as the soldiers in the world war, 1 got this infection due to poor oral hygiene and very high-stress levels. So today we will find out more about the infection and will know its signs and symptoms, its causative agents, predisposing factors and also the diagnosis and treatment options.

Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis

So let’s begin,

The medical term for trench mouth is Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis. This basically signifies the non-contagious infection of the gums, it is called acute because it has a very sudden onset. The other form of this infection which involve periodontal tissue is ANUP which means Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Periodontitis.

Symptoms

There are various symptoms which are helpful to identify the infection, these features are,

  • Acute gingival pain: There is a sudden onset gingival pain present.
  • Bleeding gums: Profuse bleeding can be seen from gums.
  • Ulcers: Are seen over the interdental papilla (gum tissue present in between the two teeth) with slough formation.
  • Fever: Is present, it is due to the infection.
  • Malodor: Bad breath occurs due to the inability to maintain oral hygiene
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Causative Agents of this Infection

This infection mostly occurs due to the anaerobic bacteria such as,

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Predisposing Factors

Now you know about the causative agents for ANUG and also what signs and symptoms to look for, so let’s look for the factors or habits which increases the chances of occurrence of the infection.

Smoking

Smoking is the predisposing factor for many oral infections and diseases. Due to the smoking, the immune system gets suppressed, also the blood supply of the gingiva gets decreased, all of these factors do not allow the gingival tissue to detect and react towards the early occurrence of the infection, hence when the body actually reacts to the infection, it already takes its increased form.

Oral Hygiene

If the person does not maintain the proper oral hygiene then increased plaque accumulation occurs, leading to the increased bacterial accumulations which lead to the gingival disease. These gingival diseases, if not treated properly, then it will lead to the ANUG or acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis.

Malnutrition

Malnutrition is the cause of various disease in the body, the imbalance of the proper amount of minerals and vitamins leads to severe disturbances in various systems of the body, hence it also influence the immunity of the body against infections and make a person more vulnerable towards the infection.

Stress

Psychological factors also influence the body’s immune system. Hence predisposes the gingival disease.

Immunocompromised Patients

The patients who are under some immunosuppressant drugs must be careful about the gingival disease, as this is also noted as a common predisposing factor for the gingival disease.

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Diagnosis

The diagnosis of the trench mouth disease is done mostly by the clinical observation and related history taking.

But for a specific diagnosis, the blood smear can be investigated for the presence of fusospirochetal bacteria.

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Home Remedies

Salt Water Rinses

It is noted that the warm salt water rinses help in decreasing swelling, relieves pain and helps in healing.

Lemongrass Oil Mouth Rinses and Aloe Vera Mouthwashes

These are helpful in relieving pain and swelling and also act effectively to reduce the number of bacteria.

Tea Tree Oil Mouth Rinses

These are helpful to reduce the bleeding from gums.

Sage Mouth Wash

This is helpful in decreasing the bacteria of the mouth, hence improve oral hygiene.

Turmeric Gel or Mouth Rinses

Turmeric has anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties, making it appropriate for use during gingival problems as a home remedy.

Oil Pulling

This is also effective to reduce the number of bacteria in the oral cavity.

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Treatment Options

The treatment of the ANUG includes the symptomatic treatment along with some antibiotics,

  • Irrigation of the mouth: The affected area is properly irrigated with saline and this will help to remove the dead tissues and slough.
  • Oral hygiene: The patient is advised to brush properly, floss once daily and proper mouthwashes are prescribed.
  • Medicine for pain management is prescribed.
  • If the infection has spread to the system, then metronidazole can be prescribed.
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Prognosis

If the condition is not treated properly, then it will cause severe damage to the gingival tissue and lead to periodontal tissue damage also and can convert into the exaggerated form, like necrotizing stomatitis and will lead to spreading in surrounding tissues like cheek, lips and even jaw bones. But if taken care on time and oral hygiene is well maintained then has a good prognosis. So this was brief about the trench mouth or ANUG infection, if you have any question or suggestion related to the topic, then you can use the comment section below.

Dr Deepak Kansal is a dentist, who is currently working in Sri Ganganagar. He did his Bachelor of Dental Surgery from Rajasthan University of Health Science.

  1. Hi, very nice website, cheers!

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