ANUG (Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis)

ANUG, or acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, is more commonly known as "trench mouth," as the disorder was common among soldiers during World War I. Although ANUG is painful, it is treatable. 


ANUG is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria in the mouth, which is often brought on by

• stress
• smoking
• poor oral hygiene
• poor diet

Signs or Symptoms

Symptoms of ANUG are easy to spot and include;

• gums that bleed easily
• a foul taste in the mouth
• extremely bad breath
• gray film on the gums
• large ulcers
• loss of gum tissue in between teeth
• red, swollen gums
• swollen lymph nodes in the head or neck
• mild fever


Your dentist will ask you to describe your symptoms and discuss your medical history. He or she will perform a dental exam, looking for deterioration, inflammation or crater-like ulcers in the gums. Your dentist may recommend facial or dental X-rays.


Treating ANUG requires professional help from a dentist, including professional cleaning of the gums, irrigation of the mouth with salt water or hydrogen peroxide (which often helps relieve symptoms), and antibiotics. Other treatment options include

• rest
• learning how to deal with stress
• a balanced diet
• abstaining from smoking
• abstaining from hot or spicy food


Good oral hygiene is important in order to prevent ANUG. Because ANUG is caused by excess bacteria in the mouth, there are certain preventative measures you can take. These include thorough tooth brushing (at least twice a day), flossing (at least once a day), regular profession dental cleanings and examinations (visit your dentist  at least twice a year for these procedures), good nutrition, good general health (strengthening your immune system), stopping smoking, and learning to manage stress.

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