Oral myiasis, also called mouth maggots, is a rare oral condition characterized by parasitic larvae infection of certain dipteran flies in the mouth that feed on their host’s dead tissues.
Mouth maggots infestation is uncommon but real. It can happen around anywhere in your mouth, including gums and the layers of upper and lower lips. The rare pathology is associated with alcoholism, poor oral hygiene, suppurating lesions, senility, severe halitosis, etc.
This article will answer all the questions about mouth maggots and signs of maggots in gums. It will also determine ‘how do you get maggots in your mouth’ and in which parts of the world it is more common.
What are Myiasis / Maggots?
Myiasis is a fly larvae (maggot) infection in human tissue commonly occurring in people living in tropical and subtropical regions.
Maggot infection is rare in the United States. People get the disease when they travel to areas like South America, Africa, or other developing countries.
People who travel with open wounds or injuries are more vulnerable to maggot infection as it makes them the easiest targets.
What are Oral Myiasis/Mouth Maggots?
The term myiasis was first coined by F.W Hope back in 1840. The Greek term ‘myia’ means fly, and ‘iasis’ means disease.
Mouth maggots is an oral infection caused by dipterous larvae that feed on dead and living tissue in the host body. Even though the mouth is the least favorable environment for their occurrence, bad oral hygiene and conditions leading to the persistent opening of the mouth can cause oral myiasis.
How do you get Maggots in your Mouth?
Bad odor, and fermenting food debris due to poor oral hygiene are some of the favorable conditions for maggots to harbor and multiply.
When a person has poor oral hygiene characterized by bad mouth odor, flies get attracted, and the persistent mouth opening expedites the deposition of the eggs by the mature fly, with tropical or subtropical environments proving the ideal climate for their breeding.
What Causes Maggots in your Mouth?
The majority of the cases of maggots infestation are due to the following:
- High use of alcohol
- Unhygienic living condition
- Terrible oral hygiene
- Mouth breathing while sleeping
- Mental retardation
- Nosocomial infection
- maxillofacial traumas
Apart from that, in rare cases, mouth maggots occur after a tooth extraction or dental surgery.
Signs of Maggots in Gums
When a person has Gingival Miyasis, a lump will form in the affected area as the larvae grow. The larvae may feel like occasionally moving but remain under the skin. Other symptoms may include:
- Bad breath
- Acute swelling
- Extensive necrotic tissues
How to Treat Mouth Maggots?
Traditionally, mouth maggots are surgically removed. However, when there are multiple maggots in advanced stages of development, a recently introduced systematic treatment will be performed with the help of Ivermectin, a semi-synthetic macrolide antibiotic, to ensure the complete removal of the parasites.
In the cases where the Ivermectin treatment does not help, surgeons mechanically remove the larva from the dead tissues, followed by adequate debridement of the affected tissues.
The next part of this guide concerns crazy facts about bad breath and determining if living bacteria cause bad breath in your mouth.
Do the Bacteria in your Mouth cause Chronic Bad Breath?
There is no better place for bacteria than a human mouth to feed on and grow. That said, do bacteria cause chronic bad breath in humans? According to the American Dental Association (ADA), “Bad breath can happen anytime thanks to the hundreds of types of bad breath-causing bacteria that naturally lives in your mouth.”
Furthermore, ADA described the human mouth as a “natural hothouse that allows these bacteria to grow.” however, upon proper cleaning and flossing, one can get rid of bad breath, helping bacteria to grow.
3 Crazy facts about bad breath (Halitosis):
Talking of bad breath, here we present three strange bad breath facts you were unaware of.
Morning Bad Breath is Avoidable
Due to bad breath, many people feel uncomfortable talking right after waking up. There is a difference between bad morning breath and chronic one.
For instance, eating certain foods like raw onion, garlic, etc. can cause bad breath, which is natural and evitable. However, if you have bad breath throughout the day, even after maintaining proper oral hygiene, you must consult a dentist to determine the underlying cause.
Treatments for bad breath include brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, using mouthwash religiously, and visiting your dentist for a regular checkup.
Medications Can Cause Chronic Bad Breath
You may not notice, but if you are on medications and experiencing bad breath, it is probably the side effects of your prescribed drugs. ADA explains it as “a number of medications also may produce an unpleasant taste or odor or may cause dry mouth, which in turn leads to bad breath.”
Apart from that, some health conditions like sinus infection, gastrointestinal disorders, tonsillitis, bronchitis, diabetes, etc., may also play a role in chronic bad breath.
Listerine invented the Term Halitosis
Most people are unaware of the fact that the term ‘Halitosis’ which means bad breath was originally introduced by the company Listerine. According to the company’s website, “Listerine coins the term ‘halitosis’ to describe bad breath and sales take off”.
Initially, ‘Listerine was marketed to dentists after studies showed that it was also good for killing germs found in the mouth.” it was the first over-the-counter solution for killing oral germs without visiting a dentist.
Oral myiasis (mouth maggots) is a rare condition that typically affects people living in rural areas. If you are traveling from the US to South America, Africa, or the Caribbean islands, take precautions and try not to leave your safe space before covering your wound properly.
Education and hygiene are the only ways to eradicate the prevalence of mouth maggots. As far as bad breath is concerned, you can prevent it by religiously flossing and using mouthwash. After all, oral hygiene is preventive care, and we couldn’t agree more.
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