If you looked in the mirror and noticed your gums are discolored or dark, you might have researched words such as black spot on gums, dark gums, black gums, gum discoloration, gums turning black, discolored gums, black gums and teeth, teeth and gums black, and black spots gums near teeth. We’ll answer some of the commonly asked questions. However, before beginning, here are some of what the experts of orthodontic medicine have to say about black gums teeth.
Melanin induced gingival hyper pigmentation or black gums may appear un-aesthetic (Farid H et al.,2017).
Black gums can affect individuals from all races (Farid H et al.,2017).
Gingival hyperpigmentation may result in psychological distress especially when the appearance is of utmost importance for the individuals (Farid H et al.,2017).
What Do Black Gums Mean?
There are various reasons why people might have black gums. Some of them include benign causes such as poor oral hygiene and others can be more nefarious. When people have poor oral hygiene, that is often the main cause of tartar buildup which can turn black and form below the gum line or on the gums. If a person fails to brush their teeth properly, and/or don’t follow a good regular hygiene program, they can develop tartar which can lead to black gums.
Additionally, there are certain other factors that can contribute to the rate of tartar formation and can turn it black. These include but are not limited to smoking or poor dietary health such as consuming lots of foods that are high in sugar and starch. This also includes drinking liquids that can stay on the teeth, such as coffee and wine.
When there has been trauma or damage to the gums or the enamel of the tooth, that can also cause black gums. The blood vessels found in the gums can allow for subgingival tartar because when the tartar reaches the gum line, it can absorb blood from these blood vessels. Once the blood pigmentation and proteins come in contact with the tartar, they can change the color of the gums and darken them.
Why are my gums dark?
There are other reasons apart from the ones listed above that can cause your gums to get darker. It is crucial that if you’re experiencing black gums, you should speak to your dentist or orthodontist.
Especially if you have additional teeth gums black issues, it might be a sign that you have gum disease. In the early stages of this, your dentist or orthodontist might be able to prescribe a fluoride mouthwash, and/or an antimicrobial toothpaste to help keep your gums healthy and reverse the gum disease.
Another reason could be that you were taking some medication which can cause darker gums.
Still, for some people having dark gums could be the normal pigmentation of their gums.
There are so many reasons why a person may have dark gums and it is necessary that your dental professional thoroughly examines each individual to decipher what is the specific cause in every specific case.
What Causes Dark Gums?
As alluded to above, some drugs can cause darker gums, by producing melanin pigmentation on the gums. Some of these drugs and their uses include:
- Chloroquine (antimalarial medication)
- Quinine (antiparasitic medicine)
- Minocycline (antibiotic)
- Zidovudine (antiretroviral)
- Chlorpromazine (antipsychotic)
- Ketoconazole (antifungal)
- Bleomycin (chemotherapy drug)
- Cyclophosphamide (chemotherapy drug)
Another cause of black gums is smoking. It is not uncommon to see smokers with black gums. This is because smoking can cause melanin to accumulate in the gums. This is called smokers’ melanosis. When this occurs in a smoker, it resembles black or brown flat areas on the gums.
Smoker’s melanosis affects more than one in five smokers and it is dose dependent, which means that the more a person smokes, the more likely they are to develop black gums teeth.
Why Do People Have Black Gums?
Another reason that some people have black gums is because of something referred to as melanotic macules. Melanotic macules are benign dark patches on the gums and they are the most common cause of dark spots or patches in the mouth, accounting for 86% of dark lesions or dark spot on gums.
These spots do not really cause any other symptoms and are usually less than 1 cm in diameter and are also flat. They do also come in brown, black, blue, or gray colors.
Melanotic macules look similar to other conditions that are harmful; therefore, it is important that your healthcare provider examines your mouth carefully to ensure that your dark gums are not sinister black spots on gums.
As mentioned above, some drugs also cause melanin pigmentation on the gums. See above for some of the medications and what they are used for. These drugs can be antibiotics, antiviral meds, antipsychotic drugs, antifungal treatments, and other types of medications. Therefore, it is important that you speak to your healthcare professional about the potential side effects of any medications you might be taking.
How To Get Rid Of Black Gums?
Depending on the cause, you may or may not require treatment. If black gums are your natural gum color, then no treatment is necessary. Additionally, if the black gums are not a result of disease, then you may not require any treatment.
On the other hand, if you are experiencing problems such as pain and discomfort, you may require treatment. Additionally, if you have black gums as a result of poor hygiene, your oral health professional will likely recommend some treatment options and lifestyle changes.
Additionally, a person with black gums might want treatment for aesthetic reasons. Speak to your healthcare professional if you fall into this category.
Some of the treatment options for black gums teeth include the following:
- Surgical abrasions (some skin is sanded off)
- Scalpel gingivectomy (surgical tissue removal)
- Laser vaporization (destroying cells with a laser)
- Cryosurgery (tissue freezing)
- Electrosurgery (using electrical current to cut tissue)
- Chemical methods
- Gingival grafts (replacing gum tissue with tissue from the roof of your mouth)
If you have black gums and you don’t have a dentist or orthodontist, feel free to visit Ivanovortho.com to book an appointment today. We are happy to give you a free initial consultation to discuss your oral health needs.
Farid, H., Shinwari, M. S., Khan, F. R., & Tanwir, F. (2017). Journey From Black To Pink Gums: Management Of Melanin Induced Physiological Gingival Hyper Pigmentation. Journal of Ayub Medical College, Abbottabad : JAMC, 29(1), 132–138.