Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis (Trench Mouth, Vincent Angina)
Necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, is a severe gum infection caused by both spirochetes and fusiform bacilli, is common in young adults under stress (classically in students at examination time). Underlying systemic diseases may also predispose to this disorder. Clinically, there is painful acute gingival inflammation and necrosis, often with bleeding, halitosis, fever, and cervical lymphadenopathy.
Your mouth naturally contains a balance of healthy bacteria, fungi, and viruses. However, poor dental hygiene can cause harmful bacteria to grow. Red, sensitive, and bleeding gums are symptoms of a condition known as gingivitis. Trench mouth is a rapidly progressing form of gingivitis.
The term trench mouth can be traced back to World War I, when it was common for soldiers to experience severe gum problems because they didn’t have access to dental care while in battle. It’s formally known as:
- Vincent Angina
- acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis
- necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis
Trench mouth is most common in teenagers and younger adults. It’s a serious condition, but it’s rare. It’s most common in underdeveloped nations and areas with poor nutrition and living conditions.
Trench mouth is caused by an infection of the gums due to the overabundance of harmful bacteria. If you have gingivitis, you’re already at a higher risk of developing this advanced infection.
Trench mouth has also been linked to the following risk factors:
- poor dental hygiene
- poor nutrition
- a weakened immune system
- infection of the mouth, teeth, or throat
- HIV and AIDS
The infection worsens and damages gum tissue if it’s left untreated. This can lead to a host of problems, including ulcers and possible tooth loss.
It’s important to recognize the symptoms of trench mouth so you can get timely treatment and prevent complications. While the symptoms of trench mouth are similar to those of gingivitis, they tend to progress more rapidly.
Symptoms of trench mouth include:
- bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
- bleeding in response to irritation (such as brushing) or pressure
- craterlike ulcers in the mouth
- grayish film on the gums
- gums that are red, swollen, or bleeding
- pain in the gums
Warm halfstrength peroxide rinses and oral penicillin (250 mg three times daily for 10 days) may help. Dental gingival curettage may prove necessary.