Trench mouth is a painful, serious, form of gum disease. The term comes from World War I (one) when the disorder was common among soldiers. This rare condition affects young adults between the ages of 15 and 35, and is instigated by poor oral hygiene, poor nutrition, emotional stress, throat and mouth infections, viruses, and smoking. Your mouth normally contains a balance of different bacteria. Trench mouth occurs when there's too much of these bacteria, resulting in painful, swollen, bleeding, red or gray gums. Other symptoms are bad breath, an unpleasant taste in your mouth, sore throat, weight loss, and ulcers that form in between your teeth. The ulcers contain food and debris, which destroy the gum tissue around your teeth. Treatment begins with antibiotics if an infection or swelling is present. Your dental hygienist will also scale and polish your teeth. Scaling is an intensive cleaning of the gums at the base of your teeth. It can take four appointments to completely scale your gums as the process is usually done in quadrants. Surgery may also be necessary. Deep pockets of infection and pus will need to be opened and cleaned. Your gums can also decay to the point when they can no longer support your teeth and artificial supports will be inserted. Extraction of a tooth may be necessary if the gum disease is so advanced that the decay has spread to adjacent teeth.