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Dark gums are normal

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I had a visit from a patient last week who was concerned about ‘dark patches on her gums’. On examination, I realized that what she was concerned about was actually her normal darker gums that some people, mainly of the darker races, have. This was not the first time that I had seen a patient who had this concern and this may be due to the fact that most people have pink gums. Although less common, a darker gum is no less healthy or less esthetically appealing than pink gums.{{more}}

I am aware of treatment offered in clinics, mostly in the western world, for dark gums, in the form of surgery and bleaching; such is the ignorance of the differences of our races that still persist in today’s world by professionals in our field. There are a few conditions that cause our gums to be darker, but there is nothing wrong with the naturally occurring melanin enriched gum seen in our race.

Although not the same, in certain diseases like Addison’s disease, peutz jeghers syndrome, von recklinghausen’s disease, there is an increase in melanin pigmentation. In case of Addison’s disease, adrenal dysfunction produces isolated patches of colour change, varying from bluish black to brown.

Poor oral hygiene: gum diseases can occur because of poor oral hygiene, which may cause colour change in gums. There is inflammation, redness and bleeding, which may cause darkening of the gums.

Smoking: Smoking also causes dark gums. Tobacco consumers also have darker gums in comparison to non-tobacco consumers.

Medications: Some medication, like minocycline, antimalarial agents, tricyclic antidepressants can also cause dark gums.

Metallic fillings: The metallic fillings, which get corroded, can also cause dark spots on gums.

Unless you have seen a recent change in the colour of your gums, chances are that they are the normal healthy darker gums that you have been blessed with.

Dr Keith John

email: drkeithjohn@gmail.com

Clinic: Heritage Dental

Tel: 784-456-2220

Cell: 784-526-0752

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