Color can be an indication of good health or poor health for many body parts, and your gums are no different. Healthy gums are generally various shades of pink. Though there is a wide range of pink healthy gums can be, it is important to check for changes in color over time. If your gums become darker, it could be a sign of many different medical or oral health problems.
Are All Dark Gums a Problem?
While darkening gums can indicate health problems, some dark gums are purely biological. The melanin in your gums just may be naturally darker than other people's gums, and that's okay. There is no need to worry if you have always had dark gums, but a change in color can indicate a serious problem.
When to Worry About Darker Gums
Another factor that can cause gums to turn dark over time is tobacco use. The nicotine in tobacco can cause the melanin in your gums to become overly productive. While the color change itself isn't harmful, tobacco has been proven to damage oral health in various ways. If you suspect the change in color is due to tobacco use, it may be necessary to consider quitting as the long-term effects of tobacco have been proven to cause gum disease and tooth decay.
Medication can also be the cause of darkening gums. Some common medications that can turn your gums a darker shade are medications to control acne. However, if you've noticed a darkening of the gums after beginning a new medication, it is important to speak with your general doctor to see if any medication you currently take can cause gum darkening.
Not all gum darkening is due to changes in oral health. However, darkening gums can be a sign of severe gingivitis. Other symptoms of severe gingivitis are gum swelling and bleeding and need to be addressed immediately. We recommend giving us a visit if you have noticed gum darkening. At our offices, we'll be able to address any concerns you have and diagnose your gums if they have become dark.