Despite popular beliefs, healthy gums aren’t always pink. Healthy gums can come in a variety of colors, and it all varies based on the individual. Healthy gums can vary from light pink to dark brown or black. The color could be heredity or could result from an ethnic background. However, there are certain medications and diseases that could alter the color of gums. Understanding the potential causes of dark gums and treatments can help individuals refrain from worrying about their oral health or seek the help they need.
Although it’s common for most people to have pink gums, many gum colors are considered normal. Sometimes individuals have a higher concentration of melanin or imbalances in pigmentation that may cause their gums to appear darker than others. People with darker skin complexions are more likely to have darker gums, but this is not always the case. Any race of people could have dark gums.
Sometimes after certain dental treatments like dentures, fillings, or crowns, individuals develop spotty gums, also known as amalgam tattoo. When tiny pieces of the filling or cap push their way into the gums, a spottiness occurs. This doesn’t cause the gums to darken completely, it just appears as though the gums have blue or black tattoo ink all around them. Although it sounds painful, it’s truly harmless and nothing to worry about.
There are specific medications like minocycline, antimalarial agents, antidepressants, antipsychotics, cancer therapy drugs, and antibiotics, that could all alter the color of the gums. Therefore, if your gums darken after taking any of these medications, it’s important to talk to your doctor and dentist.
Smoking is another reason why gums darken. Nicotine activates melanin-producing cells, which result in darker gums and other oral complications.
Lastly, sometimes black gums are an indication of a more serious issue. For example, a black spot on the gums could be an indication of malignant melanoma.
Depending on what causes the gums to darken, treatment may not be necessary. However, those who are interested in treating their gums for aesthetic reasons should talk to their dentist about treatment options. Some dentists offer cosmetic bleaching procedures to lighten gums. This painless procedure is performed in-office and is expected to produce permanent results.
If you notice any changes in the color of your gums after taking medications, smoking, or practicing poor oral health habits, contact your dentist immediately.
At McBride Dental, we offer a number of services to help our patients maintain excellent oral health for as long as possible. Some of our services include preventative care, cosmetic services, and gum disease treatment. We even offer services for those who may be suffering from tooth loss by offering dental implants and dentures. Our goal is to address our patients’ oral health concerns by offering as many services as possible. If you are in the San Diego area and would like to schedule an appointment with us, call us today at (760) 471-1003.