Trench Mouth

Painful and Infected Bleeding Gums

Trench mouth! Even the sound of it can make you shudder but not to worry. First, we’ll tell you what it is – and don’t be put off by the big words – and then we’ll tell you the symptoms to watch for, the causes of it, tests that can be done and diagnosis and then how to treat and prevent it. We all know that gingivitis is a gum disease; well, trench mouth, known as necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, is a very severe form of it that causes painful, infected bleeding gums and sores on them.

Trench mouth symptoms can come on very quickly and almost always come with great pain. Even when treated and cured you must always be on the lookout for any relapse of it so following are some of the symptoms, complications and risk factors that can occur:

  • Severe gum pain
  • Bleeding from gums when pressed even lightly
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Pain when eating or swallowing
  • A gray film on your gums
  • Crater-like sores (ulcers) between your teeth and on your gums
  • A foul taste in your mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes around your head, neck or jaw
  • Loss of gum tissue
  • Tooth loss

The above symptoms can also be related to gingivitis or periodontitis but any kind of gum disease is very serious so you must see your dentist right away before it gets any worse.

Trench mouth can occur at any age but is most common in adolescents and adults between 20 and 40 and is very common in countries that suffer from malnutrition and good oral hygiene is impossible to practice. Even one of the following can lead to trench mouth so we can’t stress enough to be very aware of your teeth and gums, to take good care of them and to see your dentist on a regular basis. Now for the causes of trench mouth and don’t ever think that you will always run into all of them:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Poor nutrition
  • Smoking
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Throat infection
  • Tooth infection
  • Mouth infection
  • Emotional stress
  • A compromised immune system

It is not difficult for your dentist to detect trench mouth. He simply exams your teeth and gums and, sometimes, you may need dental or facial X-rays to find the extent of your infection and tissue damage. If he cannot determine the reason for your trench mouth, he will refer you to your doctor to see if there are any underlying physical conditions that are causing it.

Now for the treatments available for trench mouth and, as you know, the sooner it is treated, the better. Treatment is usually very effective and most often happens in just a couple of weeks but, if your immune system is affected, it may take longer. Trench mouth happens because of a lot of bacteria growth so check out the following treatments:

  • antibiotics are often used to get rid of the bacteria and to prevent the infection from spreading
  • thorough cleaning of teeth and gums
  • removal of dead gum tissue
  • possible cleaning below the gumline by a periodontist
  • scaling
  • root planing to remove plaque and tarter
  • possible periodontal surgery to repair gum tissue
  • over the counter or prescription pain relievers to control pain and allow proper eating and brushing
  • pain reliever applied directly to gums
  • antiseptic mouth rinse

These treatments will most likely allow your gums to heal but sometimes you may need surgery to repair them is there is any kind of extensive damage.

Follow these steps to help prevent trench mouth:

  • Stop smoking
  • Stay well hydrated
  • Reduce sugar intake
  • Practice good oral hygiene
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Manage stress
  • See you dentist regularly

For more information on trench mouth, see our section on gum disease or call us at 1-877-283-0497 to set up your no obligation, consultation at your convenience.

We are conveniently located one block west of Highway 11 near the Old Bradford Library.


    Monday: 8:30am to 7pm
    Tuesday: 9am to 7pm
    Wednesday: 9am to 7pm
    Thursday: 9am to 7pm 
    Friday: Closed
    Saturday: Closed