Gum Color Changes: What They Mean and How They’re Addressed
If your gums change color, you could have a dental or health issue. While dark gums may be normal in some cases, sudden color changes are not.
Usually, an overall oral checkup is part of a routine dental exam. So, if you see your dentist regularly, chances are he or she will notice the color changes before you do. However, if you have concerns about your gum color, read on to learn what different color changes mean and how the dentist can help.
Normal Gum Colors
Typical gums are either pink or various shades of rosy color. Some people have very dark brown or almost-black color gums. Usually, dark gums indicate you have more melanin in your mouth. Many people naturally have higher melanin levels than others. Your gums could also get slightly darker or lighter as you age. If your gums have always been dark, then you probably have no problems.
Problem Gum Colors
A sudden change to your gum color is unusual and may be a cause of concern. Here are some colors to look out for and talk to your dentist about.
Suddenly Black Gums
While dark gums are normal if you have always had them, a sudden change to dark brown or black tissue is a sign of trouble. Tobacco and medications can cause this issue. Addison’s disease is also a possible cause. People with the condition often experience increased melanin in some parts of the body. Amalgam fillings can also cause a darkened area near a filling.
Deep Red Gums
Deep red gums could indicate an infection and inflammation, even if the redness is only around the gum line. You may also see blood on the toothbrush when you brush. Your teeth may have increased sensitivity. See your dentist right away. If you ignore your gums, you could end up with recession and periodontal disease.
Yellow gums, especially at the gum line, are a classic sign of gingivitis. You may also notice a thick scale along the bottom of your teeth. Gingivitis is a buildup of bacteria that leads to an infection. Your gums may also be inflamed and sensitive. Some people also have bad breath with this preventable condition.
White or Pale Gums
White gums, or white spots on the gums, could indicate a fungal infection like thrush. However, white gums may also indicate other types of gum infection or gingivitis. Pale gums could also indicate a medical problem like anemia or cancer. Canker sores may also appear white and may go away on their own.
Gray gums may mean you have an immune system problem and a possible bacterial infection. Your immune system may not be able to fight off common bacterial issues. Smoking and stress can also contribute to gray gums.
Treatment for sudden gum color changes varies based on the cause. You may need a specialist if you have severely infected or deteriorated gums. Some conditions require a medical doctor’s treatment. The dentist cannot treat them because of the underlying health issue. For instance, potential cancer may require a visit to an oncologist.
However, for dental-related causes, you can greatly improve your gum color with routine dental cleanings. Gingivitis, for example, can improve with regular dental care and oral antibiotics. If your gums have pulled back from your teeth, then deep cleaning may help. You must keep up your home care to keep gum infections away.
Gum color changes can be an excellent indication of a potential dental problem. If you have routine checkups, your dentist will tell you if you have any changes. If your gum color change indicates a dental problem, then that problem will be treated. If you haven’t seen a dentist for a while, give Crest Hill Family Dental a call. We do comprehensive dental check ups and all general dental procedures.