Are Dark Gums Healthy?

178557952If your gums appear dark or blackened, the number one thing you should do is: don’t worry. There are a number of reasons why this happened. This condition might be due to heredity, ethnic background, certain medications or diseases, or an advanced form of periodontal disease or gingivitis.

Most people have pink gums, however, just as no two fingerprints are the same, various gum colors can also be normal. Sometimes the gums may appear dark or black due to a higher concentration of melanin or imbalances in pigmentation. In most circumstances, black gums aren’t painful. This condition occurs most commonly in darker-skinned races, but it can occur in any race. Since excessive sun exposure causes melanin in the skin to darken, it can even cause melanin in the gums to get darker.

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Some people develop spotty gums after they get certain types of dental treatment, such as dentures, fillings, and crowns. Gum discoloration of this type is called an amalgam tattoo, which is caused when tiny pieces from a filling or cap wedge themselves into the gums. This issue often looks like a blue or black tattoo in the mouth, and it too is harmless.

Smoking, certain medications such as minocycline, antimalarial agents, or tricyclic antidepressants, or metal-based crowns or fillings may also cause gum discoloration.

Some dentists and periodontists are now offering a cosmetic bleaching procedure to lighten gums and improve their aesthetic appearance. This painless, in-office procedure alters the melanin pigment permanently.

Another condition that makes gums appear dark is acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, which can cause a grayish film to build up on the gums. Caused by poor dental hygiene and rarely seen today, this disease is commonly called “trench mouth” because World War I soldiers often developed the condition after spending an extended amount of time on the battlefield and not taking care of their teeth.

Black gums may also be a symptom of …