Your gums serve as connective tissue helping your teeth remain in place in your mouth. The average dental patient has firm, pink gums. And changes in their appearance, especially their color, may mean you developed a dental problem.
Your dentist performs routine periodontal screenings during your usual appointments. But if you notice that your gums appear different, you may want to call your dentist before your next regular visit. Read on to learn three ways that altered gum color can provide insight into your oral health.
What Do Changes in Gum Color Mean?
Red or Bleeding Gums
You might notice your gums become red and inflamed and might even bleed due to acute irritation such as harsh teeth brushing. But if these symptoms persist or have no clear cause, you may have gingivitis. This refers to the early phase of gum disease, an infection of the gum tissue.
Gum disease affects about half of all American adults. But though prevalent, this infection can cause irreversible dental damage, including tooth loss, without prompt treatment from a dentist. It will not go away on its own.
Your dentist can more easily get rid of gum disease with an early diagnosis. So do not delay your dental check-up. Visit your dentist on a regular basis and contact them with any questions or concerns about your periodontal health.
Pale or White Gum Tissue
Gums can start to appear paler than usual for a number of reasons, including medical conditions like anemia, in which the body has a low red blood cell count. If your gums develop a painful white bump, you may have a canker sore. This type of irritation usually resolves on its own.
However, white-colored gums might also happen due to oral thrush, a yeast infection within the mouth. Because gum discoloration might occur for several possible reasons, you should consult your dentist to find the best way to preserve and treat your oral health.
Darkening or Black Gum Color
Some dental patients naturally have a darker hue to their gum tissue. But if the gums suddenly grow darker or turn black, this could point to an oral health concern. Not every symptom will be a dental emergency, but you should check in with your dentist to make sure.
Poor oral habits like smoking may cause your gums to darken. The gums could turn black due to hormonal changes or medication side effects too. But this symptom can also come from a severe type of gum disease known as trench mouth.
This infection can leave a patient in pain and with major dental damage quickly. So do not hesitate to tell your dentist about this periodontal concern.
If you worry about protecting your gum health, talk to your dentist about preventative care you can do both in their office and at home. Your dentist may also offer cosmetic dental treatments to enhance the color and appearance of your gums if they are otherwise healthy.