When you think of gums, you probably automatically picture the color pink, but gums can come in an assortment of colors (and for an assortment of reasons). Sometimes, medical conditions and lifestyle choices affect the color of gums; other times, it’s simple genetics.
What Causes Gums to Be Different Colors?
Melanin is a substance that’s naturally produced by the body. The level of melanin a person has in his or her body contributes to hair, skin, and eye color, with the higher levels producing darker results. Melanin can also contribute to dark or black gums. If a person has always had dark gums, there’s probably no cause for concern. However, if black spots suddenly appear on the gums, there may be a medical issue.
Most people know that smoking can discolor tooth enamel, but a lot of people don’t realize this habit can also cause the gums to become darker. This condition is known as smoker’s melanosis and occurs when the nicotine in smoking products causes the body’s melanocytes to make more melanin than they naturally would otherwise.
People who have anemia—an iron disorder—might also find that their gums are paler than other people’s gums. While healthy gums tend to have a relatively consistent shade of pink, people with anemia might have pale, or even white, gums.
Leukoplakia is an oral condition that can turn parts of a person’s gums white. It usually appears in the form of white patches that can’t be brushed away with a toothbrush. Although most cases of leukoplakia are harmless, some can be precancerous. This is one reason it’s important to see your dentist regularly so he or she can assess the status of your oral health beyond regular cleanings.
Certain medications can alter the appearance of your gums. Minocycline, for example, is used to treat acne and chlamydia, among other infections. It’s been known to alter the pigmentation of the mouth, causing black or discolored gums.
If you’ve noticed your gums have changed color after you’ve recently started a new medication, talk to your doctor and dentist to be sure there are no harmful side effects that could be occurring. They might be able to suggest other medications or alternative treatments that don’t discolor your gums.
Are you searching for the best dentist in Montreal? Look no further! Retter Dental Care is currently accepting new patients, and we’d love to meet you. You can schedule an appointment by calling (514) 488-9579.