Necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (NUG)– whew that is quite a mouthful isn’t it? Sounds like a pretty serious and scary health condition so let’s take a look at what it is, how to prevent it and what treatments are offered for this oral health condition. So what is NUG?
Necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis is also commonly called “trench mouth.” It earned this name after the vast numbers of soldiers during World War I who developed the condition while fighting in the trenches. Since they often lacked access to proper hygiene facilities and ate a poor diet, the soldiers’ ability to look after their oral health was very limited and they would often develop serious gum disease.
Breaking down the name
Necrotizing – this word refers to the fact that the condition destroys gum tissue that becomes infected.
Ulcerative – refers to the fact that with this condition ulcers and sores often appear on the gums.
Gingivitis – “gingiva” is another word for your gums and “gingivitis” refers to a bacterial infection of the gingiva, or gum tissue.
So, if we put all of this together, we begin to form an image in our heads of an oral condition, which denigrates the gum tissue and causes infection and ulcer-like sores. Well that sure does not sound like something you would like to develop, does it?
What causes this condition?
The chief cause of Necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (NUG) is bacterial build-up that is out of control. Your mouth is attacked by large amounts of bacteria on a daily basis. There is some oral bacteria that is good for your mouth, but there are many kinds that can infect your gum tissue, lead to plaque and tartar build-up, infection, cavities and disease.
People who follow a good oral health routine at home that includes, brushing correctly, flossing and rinsing are unlikely to develop gum disease of any kind because they are effectively removing the harmful bacteria. However, most people are guilty of being lax with their dental hygiene routine at times and this increases your risk of developing gum disease substantially.
As well as those people who are not vigilant about oral hygiene, there are a few other risk factors for developing this condition. They include:
- Stress – since this affects your body’s ability to fight off infections.
- Smoking – smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your overall health and that includes your teeth and gums. It leaches essential nutrients from your body that prevent infections; affects heart health, which has been linked to oral health; limits healthy circulation and toxin removal from the gums and encourages bacterial growth in the mouth.
- Poor nutrition – if you do not get enough fresh foods in your diet or you consume a lot of processed and sugary foods, then you are much more likely to develop NUG and other gum disease or oral conditions.
- Weak immune system – your immune system efficiency and strength determines how well your body is able to fight off bacteria, viruses, and pathogens that attack our systems every day. If you have a weakened immune system, then you will need to step up your dental hygiene routine and improve your diet, because you are already starting behind the eight ball.
How is it different from other types of gum disease?
NUG is an aggressive form of gum disease that advances quickly and is generally a lot more painful than other gum diseases. People with NUG will often experience pain even when there is no force or pressure being exerted on the gum tissue.
NUG can be reversed and cured with the help of your dentist. They will help you to create and follow an effective treatment plan. Sometimes surgical procedures may be required in order to remove heavily diseased tissue and prevent the condition spreading through the mouth.
You will also have to follow a dental hygiene routine very carefully at home each day. It is best to use natural products that contain no alcohol or sodium lauryl sulphate since these can cause further damage to the sensitive tissue. The following are helpful tools in your battle against this disease:
- Natural mouthwash such as those that have botanical oils.
- An electric toothbrush with an oscillating head
- Dental tape, rather than floss.
Necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis can usually be overcome in a couple of weeks with professional dental assistance, commitment to brushing, flossing and rinsing regularly and minimization of risk factors. When in doubt, talk to your dentist. Learn more about how to reverse gingivitis naturally.