Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG) is rare, according to New York Times. Here's all you need to know about the condition, so you can determine when you need to visit a dentist or periodontist to diagnose any problems that may be affecting your gums.
What Does It Mean?
Some dentists refer to the condition as NUG, or necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis. It is one of a group of necrotizing periodontal diseases that includes necrotizing ulcerative periodontitis and necrotizing ulcerative stomatitis. These conditions are seen in either the developing world or in extremely immunocompromised patients.
Do not confuse NUG with gingivitis. Gingivitis is a very common condition and is a mild irritation of the gums that results in bleeding, tenderness and redness. ANUG, on the other hand, is a serious periodontal disease that can lead to the death of gum tissue.
Which Populations Are Vulnerable?
ANUG appears in patients with severe immunocompromised diseases like HIV. In healthy individuals, although extremely rare, it is most prevalent in young adults, according to a study published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology. Primary herpetic gingivostomatitis may be a common misdiagnosis, because it is prevalent in children and results in a few similar symptoms, such as inflamed gums.
Smoking, poor oral hygiene, malnutrition and severe stress are other factors that may trigger the infection.
What Does Anug Look Like?
There is a classic appearance that is key to diagnosing this condition. The gum tissue between the teeth, also known as the papilla, becomes ulcerated. The Journal of the Canadian Dental Association describes infected gum tissue as looking "punched out." This area will appear white or gray. There is intense pain, a lot of bleeding and a bad odor. The condition can affect one papilla or many.
The etiology is bacteria, and it is not contagious. The problem is usually contained to the soft tissue, but if left untreated, it may progress to the bone surrounding the teeth.
Are There Treatments Available?
Dentists can make the diagnosis based on the appearance, age of the patient, medical history and the acute onset of the disease. The treatment usually involves removing the damaged tissue and any plaque, calculus or debris stuck in the infected area. Swishing with an mouthwash like Colgate Total Advanced Pro-Shield, that kills 99% of germs on contact, and instituting a good oral hygiene routine are essential to keeping the mouth clean and help prevent the condition from returning. Pain management is also important to keep the patient as comfortable as possible.
In systemically healthy individuals, the condition will respond to treatment in a matter of days. With an immunocompromised individual, an antibiotic may be required to treat the condition.
Even though this condition is rare, if you are not sure you are systemically healthy, visit your physician.