Phossy Jaw. The girls who suffered with phossy jaw ( " Matchgirls" working with white phosphorus) would begin experiencing agonising toothaches and a swelling of the gums. Over a period of time, the jaw bone would begin to abscess, and start to glow a greenish-white colour in the dark. The decaying bone tissue would eventually rot away, and the open wounds would run, giving off a foul-smelling discharge. Finally, the disease would lead to serious brain damage and death.