Maintaining good oral hygiene does not only mean taking good care of your teeth. One important factor that most people seem to ignore when it comes to dental health is taking care of their gums. Since this area is exposed to moisture and plaque buildup, bacteria can easily grow and damage the gum tissues. A damaged gum can result in tooth loss, pain, trouble swallowing, and destruction of the gum tissue. In extreme cases, it can also cause jaw and facial muscle problems. One example of a severe gum disease is trench mouth.
Trench mouth, also known as necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, is an acute infection of the gums due to bacterial plaque buildup in the mouth. Gingivitis is often described as the reddening and bleeding of gums. Trench mouth is a higher and more complex type of gingivitis – thus the symptoms are the same, except that the former is more severe. A person diagnosed with gingivitis is more prone to having trench mouth. It has also been associated as a result of poor dental care practices, malnutrition, smoking, immunodeficiency, and diabetes.
Poor dental hygiene is one of the primary causes of growth and abundance of harmful bacteria in the mouth, resulting in painful, bleeding gums, and ulcerated gum tissue that looks like craters or pockets between the teeth. Aside from bleeding and pain, trench mouth can also cause bad breath, bad taste in the mouth, swollen gums, grayish linings on the gums, and malaise.
If a person notices any of the symptoms, it is best to have it immediately checked by a periodontist, a dentist on Oxon Hill Rd who specializes in gum care and treatment. To assess if a person has a normal case of gingivitis, or a severe case of trench mouth, a periodontist will conduct a series of tests, and laboratory procedures which includes, but is not limited to, oral X-Rays and blood testing. This will also help the periodontist determine how much damage has been done to the patient’s gum tissue.
Depending on the assessment, the periodontist may recommend over-the-counter painkillers and relievers to alleviate the pain, and antibiotics to kill the bacterial buildup, and prevent it from worsening. A thorough oral cleaning procedure will also be performed to clean the teeth and gums, and remove dead gum tissue. Extreme cases may require additional dental procedures such as periodontal scaling and root planing (to remove plaque and tartar below the gum line), and periodontal surgery (to repair extensively damaged gums). In some cases, a person with trench mouth may be referred to a physician for further medication, especially for cases of immunodeficient patients.
Trench mouth may recur even after treatment, so maintaining proper oral hygiene is necessary. Aside from regular brushing, rinsing the mouth with antibacterial mouthwash, and using dental floss is strongly advised. A well-balanced diet and active lifestyle is also essential in preventing this dreaded disease. People with trench mouth, or a history of it, are suggested to avoid smoking, eating spicy foods, and staying up late.