Gums need to be healthy and tough to support and hold your teeth in place. Healthy gums are pink to light red in color and although the color of gums can vary in person to person, any change in the color of gums or really dark colorations can be an indication that something is not well. If your gum turns black, there are a few things that should be considered. One of the advantages of visiting a dentist regularly is that health conditions can be detected through the gums, giving early warning signs that can be treated.
Good Oral Hygiene
It is important to have a good oral hygiene to keep your mouth, gums and teeth in peak condition. However, even if you brush twice daily, floss and visit your dentist regularly, you still may notice dark gums.
Smoking Can Discolor Gums
Smoking can cause all kinds of issues in your body and one of these is discolored or dark gums, known as smoker’s melanosis. This is caused by the nicotine causing melanocytes to produce more melanin than usual. Melanin is produced naturally in the body to give you hair and eye color. The more melanin you have the darker your hair and eyes will be. A higher production of melanin can also cause the gums to become darker, brown or even black. Not only that, but you are also likely to have patches of darker color on the inside of your cheeks and your lower lip. This is reversible, as are many conditions associated with smoking, but only if you stop smoking.
Increased Production Of Melanin, Not Associated With Smoking
If you notice your gums start to go dark brown or black in a short space of time and you do not smoke, it may be due to your body producing more melanin than usual. This may indicate something else is going on in your body and you should consult your medical practitioner. It is not always a sign of a medical issue, but sometimes it can be, so forearmed is forewarned. Addison’s Disease is one condition that can show up with hyperpigmentation of the gums, but this will generally be accompanied by other symptoms as well.
Side Effects Of Medication
Some medications can cause side effects of dark gums and are nothing to worry about. Minocycline, a common acne treatment, can cause this. However, if it does concern you, it is always best to speak to your medical practitioner to discover if there is any alternative medication that does not have these side effects.
There is a gum infection caused by bacteria called trench mouth (acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis) that can cause grey or black gums. This is generally accompanied by painful and/or bleeding gums, bad breath, perhaps ulcers and a fever. This gum infection can cause a layer of dead tissue to form over the gums, which gives them the black color. This is easily treated with a good clean and antibiotics from your dentist.
Dr. Alex Rubinov is an experienced dental practitioner in New York who can offer a range of dental services, including cosmetic dentistry and orthodontics. Contact us at (718) 253-0800 for an appointment.