Why do I have black gums?

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Have you noticed that you have dark spots on parts of your gums? Dark gums can be an image problem because they look as if the mouth is dirty, although in most cases these spots are not visible. However, stains or color changes in the gum may be explaining that a pathology related to oral health is occurring.

Today we will tell you about the most common causes of darkening gums and we will give you some recommendations to improving your dental health and hygiene. Let’s get started!

Causes of darkening of the gums

The gums are the fibrous tissue that surrounds and supports the teeth, acting as a barrier between the alveolar bone and the mouth. The color of the mucosa varies from one person to another, however, when the gums are healthy, they look pink, stippled, hard and not very sensitive to temperature and pressure.

A change in color could be a warning that something is not right with your oral health. This alteration is called gingival melanosis, it is reversible, and its causes are:

Poor or inadequate hygiene

The gums can suffer depigmentation when oral hygiene is deficient or inadequate, that is, due to not brushing the teeth correctly three times a day. The action of bacteria and the acid from food residues could be causing the gum to change color, become redder than normal, or develop brown spots.

Periodontal diseases

Periodontal diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis, in which the gums become inflamed due to the accumulation of solidified tartar in the subgingival area, can cause darkening or black spots on the gums.

These conditions are the product of poor dental hygiene, and in addition to darkening the gums, they could be destroying the bone that supports the teeth, causing them to loosen or be lost.


Smoking is one of the worst habits for oral health. Not only does it cause the teeth to acquire a yellow hue, but the toxins damage the mucous membranes of the mouth, which can cause black spots or darkening of the gums, especially if proper hygiene is not practiced, nor does the person brush their teeth after smoking.

Old dental restorations

Mercury amalgam restorations have caused much controversy because they release small amounts of metal fumes, especially in fillings with increased wearing. These vapors travel to the inside of the gum, causing a black stain known as a metallic tattoo, which remains until the material is replaced by resin.

This situation is also common in patients with dentures and crowns, especially those that use a porcelain metal that is in contact with the gum and darkens it, so it´s a better recommendation to look for all ceramic or zirconia materials.

Treatment for black gums

Wearing of the veneers

When dental veneers wear down and lose their seal, bacteria, plaque, and tartar could be accumulating on the tooth and causing cavities, leading to darkening of both the gums and the tooth. These could be a warning sign that you should visit your dentist in Tijuana as soon as possible.

Other causes

The consumption of drugs, such as birth control pills, oral antidepressants, or anticonvulsants, could also have the darkening of the oral mucosa as a side effect.

After a dental intervention such as a root canal, during the postoperative period it could be common for the gums to be turning dark around the treated tooth, but this would be temporary and would disappear on its own after a few days.

Genetics greatly influence the color of the skin and gums, so it is common for a family to have more than one person with brown gums.

Some people have a higher concentration of melanin and develop a condition called melanoplakia, which is not serious, and is reflected in the dark spots on the gums.

This could also be caused by overexposure of the gums to the sun and could be affecting more people with a gummy smile, who show more gums when talking or smiling.

Treatments for dark gums

Dental hygiene

In the first instance, hygiene is key to removing plaque bacteria and avoiding diseases that affect the gums. In addition to daily brushing, three times a day, we recommend you visit your dentist at least twice a year for a deep dental cleaning.

Resin restorations

Changing mercury restorations for dental resins is recommended not only to combat the darkening of the gum, but also to prevent the restoration from fracturing and allowing the passage of bacteria that cause cavities.

Micro abrasion

It is a treatment in which the superficial layer of the gum is removed, which presents dark spots and pigments that affect the oral mucosa to recovering its natural and healthy appearance.

Laser whitening

Laser teeth whitening is one of the most used techniques to removing gum stains, since it is the least invasive option, with little bleeding and shorter recovery time.

Schedule your appointment at The Dental District.

Remember that to be having healthy teeth and gums you should be visiting your dentist at least twice a year for a professional dental cleaning. But if you detect changes in your mouth, black spots, bleeding gums, or others, you must act immediately and schedule your appointment as soon as possible.

At The Dental District we will help you recover a healthy smile in our dental clinic in Tijuana. Write to us through our contact form, we will gladly assist you! Ask about our best services such as invisalign in Tijuana, root canal in Mexico, dental implants in Mexico and dental crowns in Tijuana.

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