A: Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, or trench mouth¸ is a painful form of gum disease that includes the destruction of gum tissue around the teeth and creation of crater-like ulcers in the gum that are filled with plaque and food debris. Other symptoms are a grayish film on the gums and a constant foul taste and breath. It is a rare disorder, brought on or exacerbated by factors including poor oral hygiene, poor nutrition, other infections in the mouth or throat, smoking and stress. The term “trench mouth” came from the condition’s prevalence among soldiers in World War I.
Your dentist may recommend a salt-water rinse to soothe sore gums and hydrogen peroxide rinse to wash away decayed gum tissue. If fever accompanies your condition, the dentist may also prescribe an antibiotic. The good news is that the condition normally responds well to treatment. Left untreated, though, the infection can spread to other parts of the mouth and jaw. Talk with your dentist about ways to keep your mouth healthy.Information provided by Des Moines Dental Group, 708 First Ave S., 967-6611.