Log In



During the World War I many soldiers were stationed in trenches for weeks together because of which they could not maintain their oral hygiene well; this has resulted in large amount of bacteria staying in their mouths causing infection. This dental condition is called Trench mouth because of the above reason. Nowadays trench mouth hardly occurs in developed countries whereas it still exists in poorer nations.


Trench mouth is a serious and painful dental condition that occurs due to very high bacterial infection of the gums because of which your gums are affected highly by swelling/ inflammation and also ulcers/ gingiva; however this is rare and non-contagious. This condition also is known by other names – Vincent’s Stomatitis and acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG). This condition can occur anytime in your life but it normally affects people below the age of 35. This condition affects mainly persons whose oral hygiene is poor because such people have high levels of bacteria that causes infection of the gums.

This can be treated and cured easily; however if you leave it without any treatment it could cause serious damage not only to your mouth but also to your jawbones. Normally the dental practitioner can easily identify the prevalence of trench mouth through oral examination; however in certain cases he might require X-ray photographs so as to assess the extent of damage. For serious cases he might call for blood test reports to make sure that the infection has not spread to other parts of the body.

Some of the famous persons affected by trench mouth were – American novelist William Styron, African American football player Ernie Davis and actress Marilyn Monroe.

What are the symptoms of ANUG or Trench Mouth?

The following are the symptoms of Trench mouth:

1. Bad breath/ halitosis and foul taste in mouth – these are the preliminary signs of trench mouth.

2. Painful gums – this causes extreme discomfort.

3. Bleeding Gums – the gums bleed easily without any specific reason.

4. Gums have grayish film – the gum tissue decays fast in trench mouth condition that causes grayish film.

5. Red and swollen gums

6. Swollen lymph nodes on head and neck – This does not happen with every case of trench mouth.

7. Ulcers on the gums and between the teeth – they visually look like a crater and are likely to be filled with plaque and food debris.

What are the causes of ANUG or Trench Mouth?

Trench mouth is inflammation of the gums – a form of periodontal disease or Gingivitis. This dental condition occurs when there are very high levels of bacteria in your mouth that causes infection of your gums. The prime reasons for trench mouth are as follows:

1. Nutritional deficiency

2. Poor oral hygiene

3. Smoking

4. Stress

5. Lowered immune system due to medical conditions such as AIDS.

How do you diagnose ANUG or Trench Mouth?

Our dentist can easily diagnose trench mouth by a simple oral examination. We will look at your mouth for the following signs of trench mouth:

1. Crater-like ulcers filled with plaque and food debris

2. Inflammation of the gums

3. Destruction of gum tissue around the teeth

In addition he might look for a gray film that caused by decomposed gum tissue. You might also suffer from fever and swollen lymph nodes of the head and neck.

In certain cases, it is essential to perform X-ray to decide on the extent of tissue destruction trench mouth has caused and also to determine the level of existing infection. It might be necessary to undergo blood testing to find out whether the infection has spread to other parts of the body. A fatal condition called necrotizing stomatitis could result in persons who have weak immune systems.

This disease can also be tested for by taking a throat swab culture.

How do you treat ANUG or Trench Mouth?

If you suspect that you are affected by trench mouth you must consult a dentist as early as possible. In the interim period make sure that you maintain proper oral hygiene by rigorous brushing and flossing every day.

Trench mouth treatment normally lasts for a period of two weeks and is very effective. The following are the remedial measures that can be taken on the advice from your dentist.

1. Salt water rinses – helps in soothing the sore gums.

2. Hydrogen peroxide rinses – helps in killing the bacteria and washing out the decayed tissue.

3. OTC pain medication – like ibuprofen, aspirin etc. might relieve discomfort caused by trench mouth.

4. Antibiotics – to eliminate the bacteria and also to arrest the spread of infection.

5. Brushing and Flossing – this has to be done regularly during treatment as well as after treatment to avoid recurrence of trench mouth.

6. Professional dental cleaning – this will remove the plaque and make your gums feel less tender.

How do you prevent ANUG or Trench Mouth?

The primary reason for the occurrence of trench mouth in most of the cases is because of poor oral hygiene. Hence, this could be avoided by proper daily brushing, flossing and regular mouthwash treatment. Smoking is a major factor in getting trench mouth and should be avoided.

The following measures will prevent trench mouth.

1. Good general health that includes proper nutrition and workouts

2. Good oral hygiene that includes brushing, flossing and regular professional cleaning

3. Coping up with stress

4. Discontinue smoking

5. Avoid irritants like hot or spicy foods.

What are the Complications of ANUG or Trench Mouth?It is highly essential that you take immediate necessary action for treating Trench mouth because this condition will not vanish on its own. The infection could spread to the whole mouth in case you don’t take action for treating causing damage to the bone.

Some of the trench mouth complications are as follows:

1. Dehydration.

2. Loss of teeth

3. Loss of tissue in the cheeks, lips or jawbone

4. Pain

5. Spread of infection

6.  Periodontitis