The gums play an important role in your smile and oral health. This connective tissue keeps your teeth in place in your jaw. Healthy gums should be firm and pink. But if their appearance begins to change, such as their color, then you could develop an oral health concern.
A dentist can evaluate your periodontal health during an oral exam at your regular dental appointment. But do not wait to contact your dentist if you notice symptoms in your gums before this point. Read on to find three color changes you might notice in your gums and what they could mean for your oral health.
Red, Inflamed Gums
If your gums look red and irritated on an acute basis, you might brush or floss your teeth too harshly. But if the symptom becomes chronic or persistent, then this could be a symptom of gum disease, an infection of the gum tissue.
This common infection begins with inflammation of the gums, so you may see redness, bleeding, and soreness in the tissue. But if the disease advances, you could see irreversible dental damage, including tooth loss. It will not go away on its own, so make sure you ask your dentist about periodontal treatment options.
Gum disease is easier to treat when diagnosed early, so do not delay seeking an evaluation of your gums if you notice irritation in the tissue. Visit your dentist for routine check-ups as well to maximize preventative periodontal care.
White or Pale Gum Tissue
A number of factors can make your gums look paler than usual, including anemia, a condition in which your body has a low red blood cell count. But if you see a white bump on your gums, this could be a canker sore. This type of irritation will usually go away of its own accord.
White gums can also occur due to oral thrush, a yeast infection within the mouth. Your dentist can help you get rid of this issue, but you will need to begin with an official diagnosis from your dentist. Call your dentist promptly to ensure gum problems do not worsen.
Black or Darkened Gums
Some dental patients have a naturally darker hue in their gums, but if the tissue changes to look dark or black over time, you could have an oral health problem. While not all gum changes point to a dental emergency, you should still schedule an exam with your dentist.
Smoking may make your gums look darker, and hormonal changes can also have this effect on your gums. While not necessarily a sign of a dental emergency, black gum tissue could also point to a severe gum disease known as trench mouth. The infection can become painful and wreak serious havoc on your smile quickly without intervention from a dentist.
Preserve your gum health by speaking to your dentist about preventative oral health care specific to your gums. Certain cosmetic dental work can also enhance the appearance of your gums, including their color. So consult with your dentist today.