1-22. DISORDERS OF THE MOUTH CAVITY
a. Dental Caries (Tooth Decay). Dental caries is a weakening or decay of the
enamel coating of teeth. If allowed to progress unchecked, eventual destruction of the
entire tooth (including the root and pulp) can result. Destruction of the root necessitates
b. Mumps. Mumps are a typical childhood disease in which the salivary glands
(principally the parotid) become swollen and inflamed. Mumps are caused by a virus
and the condition is highly infectious. There is a vaccine available that can protect
persons from mumps.
c. Trench Mouth (Vincent's Disease). Trench mouth is an acute inflammation
of the gums. Bleeding and pain are usually present. Probably the disease is not
communicable and may be due to poor oral hygiene, mononucleosis, or nonspecific
viral infection. This disorder is treated with antibiotics and oxygenating mouthwashes
d. Thrush. Thrush is due to an overgrowth of a normally occurring oral fungus,
Candida albicans. Thrush is characterized by creamy-white, curd-like patches that may
occur anywhere in the mouth. Pain and fever are usually present and treatment must
include the removal of the causative factor. The patient should have a nutritious diet
with adequate intake of vitamins and rest. Saline rinses help promote healing. If thrush
is not treated, it can lead to ulcers and stomach problems.
1-23. DISORDERS OF THE STOMACH
a. Peptic Ulcer. Probably the best known stomach disease is peptic ulcer.
Peptic ulcers are presumed to be caused by the action of pepsin upon the stomach
lining until it becomes eroded, exposing the layers of the cells underneath. Continual
secretion of stomach acid irritates the exposed layers of the stomach lining resulting in
pain and bleeding. There is no specific cure or treatment for ulcers and the cause or
initiating factor in the disease process is not known. People who have peptic ulcers
usually are told to avoid stress and are maintained on strict diets. Ulcers may
eventually erode completely through a region of the stomach (called a perforation) and
cause excessive bleeding.
b. Duodenal Ulcer. Duodenal ulcers are ulcers that occur in the duodenum,
usually along the initial two inch segment just distal to the stomach. The symptoms for
a duodenal ulcer are virtually the same as for a stomach ulcer, but duodenal ulcers are
much more common and death due to perforation and hemorrhage is a major problem.
Duodenal ulcers also appear to penetrate other organs (migration of the ulcerative
crater). Treatment usually consists of preventing or controlling stress in the patient and
maintaining the patient on a strictly controlled diet and administering certain drugs (like
sucralfate or cimetidine). Although the ulcer will "heal" in three to four weeks, periodic