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ANUG? Learn About Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis

ANUG or ANUP is an acronym for acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis or periodontitis. Is it also called “trench mouth” in layman’s terms due to it being quite prevalent in war times at the beginning of the last century in soldiers.

The cause of ANUG is when there is an imbalance of oral bacteria in the mouth, with an increase in “bad” bacteria. This imbalance leads to a large-scale oral infection that can be very debilitating. When the condition is classified as gingivitis, it only affects the gums and soft tissues of the mouth. When the condition is classified as periodontitis, it has progressed into the bone and supporting structures of the mouth, which is not reversible.

Signs and Symptoms of ANUG

  • Very red and inflamed gums 
  • Loss of gum structure from between the teeth, creating the appearance of spaces between teeth 
  • Ulcers that form on the gums, cheeks and vestibules 
  • Painful, sore gums 
  • Heavy bleeding when gums are touched and even spontaneously 
  • Grey film on the gums, sometimes appearing black at the gumline 
  • Bad breath and bad taste in the mouth 


Signs and Symptoms of ANUP

  • Loss of bone from around the roots of teeth 
  • Gum recession 
  • Loose teeth and eventual tooth loss (if untreated)

Risk Factors for ANUG 

The most important risk factor for ANUG appears to be a lack of adequate oral hygiene and emotional and physical stress. Other risk factors that can easily contribute to ANUG are poor nutrition, smoking, and other throat and mouth infections. You can see why ANUG was highly prevalent during war, as soldiers would have several risk factors at once. 

Prevention of ANUG

The risk of ANUG has dramatically reduced in modern times, and it is quite an uncommon condition if specific measures are met. Adequate oral hygiene is vital, meaning brushing twice daily and flossing once daily. A balanced diet is sufficient in vitamins and nutrients, and reducing or quitting smoking is also very important. If there are other oral conditions or infections, such as the impaction of wisdom teeth, they should be addressed promptly. Be sure to see your dentist routinely for checkups and dental cleanings. 

If you have any questions about acute ulcerative necrotizing gingivitis or periodontitis, we encourage you to contact our office today to schedule an appointment

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