This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
CHRONIC: Membrane swollen, showing small nodules; thick yellow mucus on gums and teeth; velvety coat on tongue; foul and slimy taste in mouth.
This is a disease, which, although of very frequent occurrence, has been only recently recognized as of a catarrhal character. Catarrh of the mouth is very similar to the same disease elsewhere, and the mouth is even more liable to the disease than other parts. It is often associated with catarrh in other organs, as pharyngeal and nasal catarrh, and catarrh of the stomach. It is also a very common accompaniment of various fevers. It is not dangerous to life, though in small children it may give rise to convulsions which may prove fatal when arising from this as well as. when produced by other causes of reflex irritation. It should not be supposed that all persons having a coated tongue and a bad taste in the mouth have oral catarrh. Either fevers or deranged digestion produces these symptoms. There must be also increased secretion of turbid or yellowish mucus, tenderness and swelling of the membrane, giving to the tongue a flabby appearance in consequence of which condition the impressions of the teeth will be seen in the edges. The difference between chronic oral catarrh and a similar condition produced by dyspepsia is that in oral catarrh proper the digestion is not at all disturbed. The two diseases may exist together, however. The elongation of the uvula gives rise to constant hawking, coughing, and spitting, by tickling the root of the tongue.
The chief causes of catarrh of the mouth are cutting the teeth, gum-boils, rough or ulcerated teeth, wounds of the mouth or gums, very hot, cold, or irritating foods or drinks, smoking and chewing tobacco, mercurial poisoning, catarrh of some other organ, as gastric catarrh, typhoid and typhus fever, and scarlatina. Sitting up late at night and mental excitement are also given as causes by eminent German observers.