trench mouth

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Probably coined during World War I when the disease was common among soldiers "in the trenches."


trench mouth (uncountable)

  1. (idiomatic, medicine) Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, a severe bacterial infection of the gums, typically characterized by inflammation, bleeding, deep ulceration, necrotized tissue, pain, fever, enlarged lymph nodes, fatigue, and halitosis.
    • 1918, "Discover New War Disease: British and French Soldiers Suffering from ‘Trench Mouth," New York Times, 17 Jun., p. 7 (retrieved 7 Jan. 2009),
      "Trench mouth" is one of the war diseases which is engaging the attention of British army doctors.
    • 2002, Itzhak Brook MD, "Anaerobic Bacteria in Upper Respiratory Tract and other Head and Neck Infections," Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology, vol. 111, no. 5, p. 433:
      Vincent's angina (or trench mouth) is a distinct form of ulcerative gingivitis.