Gum discoloration happens when your gums turn a different color. Since your gum tissue’s natural hue can vary based on your skin tone, gum discoloration can look different for different people.
However, gum discoloration is typically noticeable because of the changes in appearance that it causes. So what causes gum discoloration, and can it be fixed? We have your answers here!
Poor Oral Hygiene and Plaque Buildup
One of the leading causes of gum discoloration is poor oral hygiene, which can cause plaque to accumulate around the gumline.
When you don’t brush and floss your teeth daily, plaque can build up along the gumline, leading to inflammation, gum disease, and gum discoloration. Gums may look red, puffy, and irritated in such cases.
There are also certain gum infections, such as necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, that can cause areas of dead gum tissue which may appear gray or darker in color .
Smoking and Tobacco Products
Smoking and using tobacco products not only harm your overall health but also have detrimental effects on your gum color.
Chemicals present in tobacco smoke can stain the teeth and irritate the gums, leading to inflammation and redness. However, the substances in tobacco products can also cause a darkening of the gums.
Using tobacco products also increases your risk of oral cancer. Oral cancer can cause gum discoloration in the form of red or white patches on the gums .
Systemic Conditions and Medications
There are health conditions and medications that can contribute to gum discoloration. Some medical conditions, such as hormonal changes, diabetes, and certain autoimmune diseases, can impact the color of the gums.
Medications, such as certain types of antibiotics, antipsychotics, and hormone therapies, can cause gum discoloration as a side effect . If you notice a change in gum color after starting a new medication or experiencing a health condition, talk to your dentist to see what could be causing the discoloration.
Treatment Options for Gum Discoloration
Treating gum discoloration depends on the underlying cause. For example, if you have gum disease, your dentist will create a treatment plan specific to the severity of the condition, which may include a deep cleaning and antibiotic therapy.
Quitting smoking and avoiding tobacco products can significantly improve gum health and may gradually reduce gum discoloration.
In some cases, if gum discoloration persists or no underlying cause is found, cosmetic procedures such as laser gum therapy or gum grafting may be recommended to improve the appearance of your gum tissue .
How Healthy Are Your Gums?
Your gums play an essential role in the health of your teeth and can keep your smile looking beautiful at any age. How healthy are your gums? If you’re seeing gum discoloration, it’s talk with your dentist to see what could be causing the problem and how you can treat it!