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Worries about darkening gums

Mar 18, 2023 | Periodontics

Flashing a broad grin should be something that comes naturally to all of us, but if we have insecurities about the appearance of our smile, we may hesitate before sharing it with the world.

While having dark colored gums is completely normal for many people, some of them may be embarrassed by the color of their gums. However, dark gums can also be caused by a variety of conditions ranging from absolutely benign to severe enough to warrant immediate intervention from dental professionals.

I Have Dark Gums: Should I Seek Treatment?

The color of your gums is largely dependent on a wide number of factors. If you’ve always had dark colored gums, then most likely there’s no reason to be alarmed. If your gums have suddenly changed in color, though, then you may definitely need to pay us a visit.

These are the primary reasons that your gums may appear dark:

  • Genetics: Your melanin levels (the cells that cause pigment) are driven by genetics. Some people naturally have more melanin than others, leading to darker colored gums.
  • Medications: Have you started a new medicine recently? Tetracycline, a common antibiotic, can darken gums. Certain antidepressants can also contribute to dark gums.
    Bad Habits: It is well known that cigarette smoking is a major health problem that comes with the risk for periodontal disease and oral cancer. If you smoke, our advice is to stop. Easier said than done – we understand. That said, there is research indicating that smoking cessation — besides its vast overall health benefits — reduces gum discoloration.
  • Diseases: Both acute necrotizing periodontal disease and acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis can darken gums. Both require immediate medical attention to prevent lasting damage. Necrotizing periodontal diseases is one of the seven categories of periodontitis as defined by the American Academy of Periodontology classification system. It is a disease of tissue destruction of both soft tissue (gums) and hard tissue (alveolar bone). As a result of the disease, both soft and hard tissue defects can make oral hygiene difficult.
  • Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions can darken gums. For instance, Addison’s disease, Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, and Von Recklinghausen’s disease can all lead to darkening of your gums.

The color of your gums is not anything you should be ashamed of, but it’s perfectly understandable to covet the appearance of cheerful, pink gums. Bleaching is a cosmetic option available to patients to bring their gums to a color that may better suit them.

If your gums are dark, we can help. Our team at The Mugford Center for Periodontics and Dental Implants can review your situations and can rule out benign causes of the darkening and start you on treatment for it. Give us a call today to schedule your dental exam with a medical consultation for your dark colored gums. You may reach us at our Crofton Maryland office at: (410) 260-0790.