Trench mouth

  • Alternative Names

    Vincent's stomatitis; Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis


    The goals of treatment are to cure the infection and relieve symptoms. Your health care provider may prescribe antibiotics if you have a fever.

    Good oral hygiene is vital to the treatment of trench mouth. Brush and floss your teeth thoroughly as often as possible, at least twice a day and preferably after each meal and at bedtime.

    Salt water rinses (1/2 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of water) may soothe sore gums. Hydrogen peroxide, used to rinse the gums, is often recommended to remove dead or dying gum tissue.

    Over-the-counter pain relievers (analgesics) may reduce your discomfort. Soothing rinses or coating agents may reduce pain, especially before eating. You may apply lidocaine to the gums for severe pain.

    You may be asked to visit a dentist or dental hygienist to have your teeth professionally cleaned and to have the plaque removed, once your gums feel less tender. You may need frequent dental cleaning and examinations until the disorder is cleared.

    To prevent the condition from coming back, your health care provider may give you instructions on how to:

    • Maintain good general health, including proper nutrition and exercise
    • Maintain good oral hygiene
    • Reduce stress
    • Stop smoking

    Avoid irritants, including smoking and hot or spicy foods.

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    The infection usually responds to treatment. The disorder can be quite painful until it is treated. If trench mouth is untreated or treatment is delayed, the infection can spread to the cheeks, lips, or jawbone and destroy these tissues.

    • Dehydration
    • Loss of teeth
    • Pain
    • Periodontitis
    • Spread of infection

    Calling your health care provider

    Call the dentist if you have symptoms of trench mouth, or if fever or other new symptoms develop.