What is acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis?

Quick Answer
Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG) is a serious infection of the gums that causes ulcers, swelling, and dead tissues in the mouth. Although a painful condition, it can be healed with treatment.
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Definition

Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG) is a serious infection of the gums that causes ulcers, swelling, and dead tissues in the mouth. Although a painful condition, it can be healed with treatment.

Causes

Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis is typically caused by excess bacteria in the mouth. Too much bacteria can form in the mouth from smoking, stress, a lack of dental care, a virus, and a poor diet.

Risk Factors

Risk factors for ANUG include lack of dental care and overall poor dental hygiene; a poor diet; vitamin deficiencies; infections in the throat, teeth, or mouth; a compromised immune system; smoking; stress; and age thirty-five years or younger.

Symptoms

Symptoms of ANUG include pain in the gums, gums that bleed easily, bad taste in the mouth, extremely bad breath, red and swollen gums, gray residue on the gums, large ulcers or loss of gum tissue between teeth, fever, and swollen lymph nodes.

Screening and Diagnosis

The dental examination will include a search for inflammation of the gums, destroyed gum tissue, and crater-like ulcers in the gums that may harbor plaque and debris from food. The exam might also include dental and facial X rays.

Treatment and Therapy

Treatment options for ANUG include antibiotics to clear up the infection, dental surgery, an improved diet and diet changes, and regular dental cleanings.

Prevention and Outcomes

To help reduce the chance of getting ANUG, one should maintain a balanced, nutritional diet and should take proper care of teeth and gums, which includes regular dentist visits.

Bibliography

Contreras, A., et al. “Human Herpesviridae in Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis in Children in Nigeria.” Oral Microbiology and Immunology 12 (1997): 259-265.

Langlais, Robert P., and Craig S. Miller. Color Atlas of Common Oral Diseases. 4th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2009.

The Merck Manuals, Online Medical Library. “Actinomycosis.” Available at http://www.merck.com/mmhe.

Schreiner C., and F. B. Quinn. “Stomatitis.” University of Texas, Medical Branch. Available at http://www.utmb.edu/otoref/grnds/stomatitis.htm.

Sutton, Amy L., ed. Dental Care and Oral Health Sourcebook. 3d ed. Detroit: Omnigraphics, 2008.

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