Modern Preventative Dentistry Wipes Out Trench Mouth

Most everything we do today has evolved or progressed in some way when compared to how it was done a hundred years ago. Some things have progressed more than others. Have you ever wondered how far dentistry has progressed? The truth is, dentistry has come a long way considering the norms of oral hygiene now versus a hundred years ago. Let’s look back at a dental condition that was common around the time of World War I. This condition was called Trench Moth; an acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis. The infection was caused by bacteria that surrounded and infected gum tissue. At that time, the infection was rarely treatable and often with understanding the patient would eventually lose all of their teeth.

Trench Mouth received its name after consistently showing up in the mouths of solders living in the trenches. Conditions in the trenches were never ideal. Solders were subjected to harsh weather conditions and poor nutrition, leaving little time for one to consider their oral hygiene. It’s believed that trench mouth was spread from the sharing of drinking cups and utensils. Symptoms included swelling, bleeding gums, and painful ulcers that could grow in size as the infection spread. In some cases, a person’s gums would turn greyish black from the decomposing tissue.

During WW I, there was little treatment for conditions like trench mouth and even less technology to help dental professionals in diagnosing such conditions. The good news is that today, trench mouth is virtually non-existent thanks to modern preventative dentistry. Simple things that we take for granted like the improved design of the common toothbrush make a tremendous difference in the way we take care of teeth. We now understand what types of foods contain extraneous substances like sugar that aid in plaque buildup and can regulate or even avoid them.

We can’t forget about our advances in technology over the past 40 years. X-ray technology helped pave the way for preventative dentistry, and orthodontics helped with reconstructive dentistry. Think of all the computer use and digital imaging that takes place in every dentist office today. These advancements have been around and in our lives for quite some time. Without them, taking care of your teeth would be a different experience all together. Some of us may not enjoy going to the dentist from time to time, but a bi-annual visit to the dentist for one hour is a nice alternative to say, getting an infection like trench mouth. Be sure to visit your local dentist at least once every six months for a regular teeth cleaning and checkup.