Why are my Gums Black / Dark? What Causes Changes in Gum Color?

We always have one question in our mind. What is the color of healthy gums, and we always think that it’s pink !!! but that’s not true. Natural healthy gums color varies like our skin tone from pink, brown, dark brown or black. Gum color is different in every individual. So again, it’s a question so we shouldn’t be worried about our gums color. The Ans will be no!!! because there are multiple reasons for changes in gum color. So here is the list of certain causes and conditions we need to pay attention to and visit the dentist for a checkup.

Why are my Gums Black / Dark? What Causes Changes in Gum Color?

Natural variation: as we mention above gums colors vary. Melanin is the natural substance which gives color to skin, hair, eyes which is also present in our gums. Person with a higher amount of melanin will have brown to dark gums. Melanin pigmentation is most seen in African and Asian people. This pigmentation can be seen as a dark patch on some area, one side or both sides of the mouth. Melanin pigmentation is normal and does not require any treatment.

If you are not happy with the color there are certain treatments available

  • Surgical – with the help of a scalpel(blade) dentist will remove the top layer of darker tissues. It will heal and form new tissue which will be pink in color. One thing to keep in mind is that the result won’t last forever. Gums tissue again get their original color when melanin production starts in some years.
  • Laser gums depigmentation – This treatment also works on the same principle as surgical removal. But there are certain advantages of lasers over traditional surgery.
  • Minimal pain
  • With the help of a laser dentist will scrape out the top most layer of darkened gums.
  • lasers will provide minimal invasive procedures with less or no amount of bleeding.
  • Healing will be faster than surgical.

Tobacco products: Smoking or hookah consumption cause the gums darkening. As nicotine accelerates the production of melanin. If you stop your habit, it will reduce the darkness of gums.

Medicine: certain medicine therapy can lead to changes in gums color. If you notice that your gums color has changed after certain medication you can consult a dentist. Ex – antimalarial drug, antipsychotic, cancer therapy, certain antibiotics.

Addison’s disease: Addison’s disease is related to the immune system. This disease attacks the adrenal gland and damages it and affects hormonal level. With other major systemic problems patients also noticed hyperpigmentation of gums and lips.

If disease is left untreated severe complications can occur because of an adrenal crisis that needs emergency treatment.

Malignant melanoma: it is a type of oral cancer in which a patient notices a black spot on the gums. If you notice any kind of unusual spot-on gums, you need to visit the dentist. For a confirmation of lesion biopsy is required.

Amalgam tattoo: A very old amalgam (silver) filing causes changes in gums color due to alloy particles. Gums tissue near filling can appear black, grey or blue. This is absolutely normal and does not require any gum treatment.

Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis: This is a gum infection caused by rapid growth of bacteria in the mouth. Infection mainly caused by poor oral hygiene and stress.

In the beginning patients notice bleeding gums, bad breath, ulcer formation near gums margin and painful gums and fever.

A black or grayish dead tissue layer forms on gums

Need to visit the dentist for good cleaning and removal of dead tissue. Followed by antibiotics prescribed to reduce bacterial load. Good oral hygiene from the patient side is mandatory.

Overall good oral hygiene is important to avoid any gums issues. Regular cleaning and checkups by the dentist are necessary every 6 months. If you are noticing any unusual changes in gums in recent times you should consult a dentist to find out the cause for it.
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