Trench mouth is a kind of gum disease that is different from the normal periodontitis. It’s an acute infection, which means it can be triggered quickly and can also quickly cause serious damage to your gums and teeth. If you suspect trench mouth, you need to see a dentist or periodontist immediately.
Symptoms of Trench Mouth
Trench mouth is more formally known by a few different names. Most commonly it’s called necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (NUG). It’s a serious form of gum disease, so many of the symptoms are similar to those of other forms of gum disease, such as:
- Severe gums
- Bleeding gums, though in NUG, the bleeding occurs even with minor pressure
- Red and swollen gums
- Pain when eating or swallowing
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Bad breath
However, you might also notice other symptoms that distinguish trench mouth from regular gum disease, such as:
- Gray film on the gums
- Holes in the gums between teeth
- Swollen lymph nodes
These symptoms should be taken very seriously and treated quickly.
Who Is at Risk for Trench Mouth?
Trench mouth got its name because it was common among soldiers in WWI who were subjected to very unhealthy conditions. These soldier combined the typically poor oral hygiene of the early part of the century with poor nutrition, exhaustion, and exposure to a wide range of pathogens that wore down their immune systems.
These days, trench mouth has become relatively rare in the US, but you are still at risk if you:
- Have poor nutrition
- Practice poor oral hygiene
- Are a smoker
- Are under stress
- Have a weakened immune system, whether due to medications or HIV/AIDS
- Have other infections in the area, such as an infected tooth
- Have diabetes
Most people can fight off the infection before it really takes hold, but in people with the above problems, trench mouth can become very serious quite quickly.