Where There Is No Dentist 2012 189
3. Infection of the gums
(Vincent’s Infection, trench mouth)
The skin around the teeth
(the gums) is painful, red and
puffy with oozing yellow
Many people have some infection of the gums around their teeth. The
amount of infection depends on how clean the mouth is kept and how
well a person’s body can fight off disease. If the mouth and gums are
not kept clean, the infection may get so bad that it will spread to the jaw
bone and other tissues nearby and the teeth will eventually loosen and
Because the body of someone with HIV infection is less able to fight off
disease, any gum infection will quickly get worse if the person does not
keep his mouth and teeth clean. This can be very serious. If a person
with HIV loses his teeth and cannot eat, he will become even more ill.
• The gums are red, puffy, and very painful.
• There may be yellow liquid (pus) oozing from the gum around one
or more teeth.
• The gums between several teeth have sores (ulcers).
• The person’s mouth smells very bad.
If the infection of the gums is very bad and advanced (as it can be for a
person with HIV), the signs may include:
• red, raw ulcers of the gums.
• the roots of the teeth will show.
• pieces of the jaw bone can be seen at the bottom of the ulcers.
• some teeth are loose.