Treatments and drugsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Treatment of trench mouth is generally highly effective, and complete healing often occurs in just a couple of weeks. However, healing may take longer if your immune system is weakened, such as by HIV/AIDS.
Medication for trench mouth treatment may include:
- Antibiotics. Because trench mouth involves an overgrowth of bacteria, antibiotics are often prescribed to get rid of the bacteria and prevent infection from spreading.
- Pain relievers. You may also need an over-the-counter or prescription pain reliever. Getting pain under control is important so you can eat properly and resume good dental care habits, such as brushing your teeth and flossing. Your dentist may also recommend a pain reliever that you can apply directly to your gums (topical anesthetic).
- Antiseptic mouth wash. Prescription antiseptic mouthwash containing chlorhexidine can decrease the bacterial count, speeding recovery.
Cleaning your teeth and gums
Treatment also includes a thorough but gentle cleaning of your teeth and gums. Your mouth may be rinsed with an antiseptic solution. When your gums are less tender, you'll have a type of tooth cleaning called scaling and root planing. This procedure removes plaque and tartar from beneath your gumline and smooths any roughened surfaces of your teeth that catch bacteria.
Right after cleaning, your gums will be quite tender. Your dentist will probably advise you to rinse your mouth with a hydrogen peroxide mouthwash, salt water or a prescription mouth rinse, in addition to brushing gently with a soft toothbrush. Once your gums begin to heal, brush and floss at least twice a day — preferably after every meal and at bedtime — to prevent future problems.
When surgery is necessary
Although your gums are likely to heal and return to their normal shape with professional cleaning and proper home care, you may need surgery to help repair them if you have extensive damage.
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