Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG) is the medical term for trench mouth. ANUG is a very painful and serious condition of the mouth. Another name for trench mouth is Vincent’s disease. Whether you hear it called Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, trench mouth or Vincent’s disease, it is important to know that the names refer to the same disease. Trench mouth is caused by a bacterial infection of the gingiva (gums).
Who gets ANUG (trench mouth)?
The majority of people susceptible to acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis are people with poor oral hygiene. This painful mouth disease is commonly seen in people who have HIV/AIDS. ANUG is normally seen in people who are 35 years old or younger. ANUG or trench mouth is serious; it not only ulcerates the mouth, but the infection can migrate to the bones of the jaw. Without proper treatment, the infection could cause bone loss in the jaw. This disease of the mouth is generally caused by poor oral and dental hygiene and those who smoke or live under constant stress. Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis is also quite common with people who use drugs. When drug addicts have this disease, it is often referred to as meth mouth.
What are the symptoms of ANUG (trench mouth)?
The symptoms of acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis are bad breath, pain in the mouth, gums and jaw. The pain can be intensified by chewing. Spicy foods can irritate the mouth and gums, which will also cause significant discomfort. People who suffer from trench mouth may experience bleeding from the gums when they chew or brush their teeth. The gums are swollen and very red.
How is ANUG (trench mouth) treated?
Because trench mouth is such a serious disease of the mouth, gums and jaw, it may take up to two weeks or more to get rid of it. How fast you get better depends on your immune system. The way ANUG is treated is normally treated with antibiotics, over-the-counter analgesics, such as Tylenol (acetaminophen). It is important to practice good oral and dental hygiene during and after treatment. Your doctor may suggest that you rinse your mouth out with a solution of water and hydrogen peroxide. Salt water rinses will also help to cleanse the mouth and promote comfort in the mouth. It is vitally important to floss your teeth regularly, because the majority of the germs live between the teeth in those tight crevasses.
Prevention is as important as the cure. Practicing healthy brushing and flossing techniques will help to prevent another serious infection. It is important to eat a healthy diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, is essential for supporting the immune system. Stress, oftentimes, plays a part in who gets trench mouth and who doesn’t. Sometimes people who live under constant stress give little thought to brushing and flossing. It is important to learn how to deal with stress appropriately. It also would be most helpful to visit your dentist once or twice a year for professional dental cleaning to remove plaque from the teeth. Your dentist can give you specific information about how to keep your mouth healthy. People who are prone to getting trench mouth or any type of gingivitis should refrain from smoking. Smoking increases the likelihood of irritating the mouth and hampering the immune system.
If your gums bleed, you have constant pain in your mouth, gums and/or jaw, see your dentist as soon as possible. It’s important for a dental professional to examine your mouth, teeth and gums to confirm or rule out a diagnosis of trench mouth. ANUG is fairly easy to treat, but without treatment the condition will only get worse. To prevent bone loss in the jaw, tooth loss and serious infection, see your dentist regularly and take employ healthy oral and dental hygiene.
Photos of mouths infected with trench mouth can be seen here.