Ulcerative Gingivitis

Ulcerative gingivitis, also known as trench mouth or acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG), is a severe form of gum disease characterized by painful, bleeding gums, bad breath, and ulcerations in the gum tissue. It is caused by the overgrowth of bacteria in the mouth, typically due to poor oral hygiene, stress, malnutrition, and smoking. The symptoms of ulcerative gingivitis include severe pain and swelling of the gums, bleeding gums, bad breath, fever, and fatigue. The ulcerations in the gum tissue can cause severe pain and discomfort, making it difficult to eat, speak, or even open the mouth.


This condition is caused by a bacterial infection, and several factors can increase the risk of developing it. Below are the main causes of ulcerative gingivitis:

  1. Poor oral hygiene: Not brushing and flossing regularly can lead to the accumulation of plaque and bacteria in the mouth. This can cause gum inflammation, which can progress to ulcerative gingivitis if left untreated.
  2. Stress: High levels of stress can weaken the immune system, making the body more vulnerable to infections such as ulcerative gingivitis.
  3. Smoking: Smoking can weaken the immune system and reduce blood flow to the gums, making it easier for bacteria to cause infections.
  4. Nutritional deficiencies: A lack of essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C and iron, can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of developing ulcerative gingivitis.
  5. Compromised immune system: Certain medical conditions, such as HIV, cancer, and diabetes, can weaken the immune system, making the body more susceptible to infections.
  6. Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy and menopause can cause changes in the gums, making them more susceptible to infection.
  7. Poor nutrition: A diet high in sugar and low in nutrients can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of developing gum disease.

In summary, ulcerative gingivitis is caused by a bacterial infection, which can be triggered by poor oral hygiene, stress, smoking, nutritional deficiencies, a compromised immune system, hormonal changes, and poor nutrition. Maintaining good oral hygiene, eating a balanced diet, and managing stress can help prevent and manage this condition.


The condition is typically caused by a bacterial infection and is more common in people with weakened immune systems.

The main symptoms of ulcerative gingivitis include:

  1. Painful and bleeding gums: The gums become red, swollen, and painful. They may bleed easily, especially when brushing or flossing.
  2. Ulcers or sores: The gums may develop small, painful ulcers or sores that can be white, gray, or yellow in color. These may also develop on the tongue, lips, or cheeks.
  3. Bad breath: The bacterial infection can cause foul-smelling breath, even after brushing or using mouthwash.
  4. Metallic taste in the mouth: Some people with ulcerative gingivitis may experience a metallic or bitter taste in their mouth.
  5. Fever: In severe cases, fever and general malaise may occur.
  6. Swollen lymph nodes: The lymph nodes in the neck and jaw may become swollen and tender.
  7. Difficulty eating and speaking: The pain and discomfort can make it difficult to eat, chew, or speak.
  8. Tissue sloughing: The gums may shed tissue, leaving a raw, painful surface behind.

If you suspect that you have ulcerative gingivitis, it is important to see a dentist or healthcare professional immediately. Treatment typically involves antibiotics to control the infection, as well as pain relief and supportive care to help manage the symptoms. Good oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing, and regular dental cleanings, can also help prevent and manage the condition.


The condition is characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed easily, severe bad breath, and painful mouth sores.

Diagnosis of ulcerative gingivitis is typically based on a thorough dental exam and clinical evaluation of the patient’s symptoms. A dentist or periodontist will examine the patient’s gums for signs of inflammation, swelling, and ulceration, and may also test for the presence of harmful bacteria.

One of the primary diagnostic tests for ANUG is a bacterial culture, which involves taking a sample of the patient’s gum tissue and sending it to a lab for analysis. The culture can identify the specific bacteria responsible for the infection, which can help guide treatment decisions.

In addition to a bacterial culture, other tests that may be used to diagnose ulcerative gingivitis include:

  • Periodontal probing: A dental instrument is used to measure the depth of the pockets between the teeth and gums. In ANUG, these pockets may be deeper than normal due to the destruction of gum tissue.
  • X-rays: These can be used to evaluate the bone loss around the teeth and determine the extent of the infection.
  • Blood tests: These can help to rule out other conditions that may cause similar symptoms, such as viral infections or autoimmune disorders.

Treatment for ulcerative gingivitis typically involves a combination of oral hygiene practices, medication, and, in severe cases, surgical intervention. Good oral hygiene is crucial for preventing the spread of infection, and may include regular brushing and flossing, using an antiseptic mouthwash, and avoiding tobacco and alcohol.

Medications such as antibiotics, pain relievers, and topical treatments may be prescribed to help manage symptoms and fight the infection. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove damaged tissue and promote healing.

With prompt diagnosis and treatment, most patients with ulcerative gingivitis can make a full recovery and avoid long-term complications. However, without proper care, the condition can lead to serious oral health problems, including tooth loss and chronic periodontal disease.


It is caused by a bacterial infection and typically affects individuals with poor oral hygiene, weakened immune systems, and high levels of stress.

The main treatment of ulcerative gingivitis includes:

  1. Antibiotics: Antibiotics are used to control the bacterial infection and prevent its spread. Commonly prescribed antibiotics for ulcerative gingivitis include metronidazole, penicillin, tetracycline, and clindamycin.
  2. Pain relief: Pain relief medications such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin can be used to manage the pain associated with ulcerative gingivitis.
  3. Dental cleaning: Professional dental cleaning, also known as scaling and root planing, is an essential part of the treatment for ulcerative gingivitis. It involves the removal of tartar and plaque buildup from the teeth and roots to prevent further bacterial growth and promote healing.
  4. Mouth rinses: Antiseptic mouth rinses, such as chlorhexidine or hydrogen peroxide, can be used to kill the bacteria and reduce inflammation in the mouth.
  5. Lifestyle changes: It is important to practice good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing twice a day and flossing daily, to prevent the recurrence of ulcerative gingivitis. Additionally, reducing stress, quitting smoking, and improving nutrition can help boost the immune system and promote healing.

Overall, the treatment of ulcerative gingivitis is tailored to the individual’s specific needs and severity of the infection. It is important to seek prompt treatment from a dentist or periodontist to prevent complications and promote a healthy mouth.