What is ANUG?

What is ANUG (Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis)?

This is a very painful problem and patients are often a little distressed by the appearance and symptoms:

  • Gums that are affected are bright red in colour and really sore to touch, often to sore to brush.
  • There is ulceration and breakdown of the interdental papillae (the bit of gum in-between your teeth).
  • Gums often bleed heavily on brushing (sometimes spontaneously)
  • There is a distinct metallic taste
  • A powerful bad smell comes with the condition- this is due to the fermentation of the bacteria.
  • Your glands will frequently be up, as you fight the infection, but it is rare that you will have a temperature.

If the condition is chronic (long lasting), or happens on a number of occasions, it can cause some loss of the bony support for the tooth. In certain rare circumstances this can be severe.

Factors that may put you at risk to ANUG:

  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Poor hygiene and build up of calculus
  • HIV
  • Illness
  • Immunocompromised.

How is it Treated?

A 5-day course of antibiotics will cause the condition to resolve quickly but you must return for a thorough cleaning within a week and improve your level of hygiene and plaque control in order to reduce the chance of it happening again.

If your gums are too sore to brush, then using a 0.2% chlorhexidine rinse can help until you are able to start using a soft toothbrush. You can even dab it on with a cotton bud until you can start brushing again.

The destruction of the interdental papillae often fully repairs and recovers, though a lasting deformity of the gum can sometimes remain. This may require gum surgery or cosmetic reshaping if it is an aesthetic problem. Since it affects the lower teeth and gums more often than the top, this tends not to be a problem.