Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why have my gums changed color?"
My gums, especially around my front teeth look a lot darker than usual lately. They are not red or pink but more of a purple color. Is this because of blood vessels or bruising or is it the sign of a problem with my mouth?
Gums may change color and become darker at certain times normally, usually under the influence of hormones. For example, darkening of the gums during pregnancy is completely normal and not something that needs to be worried about. At other times, however, I would suggest that you see your dentist for evaluation. This is because darkening of the gums, especially if it occurring right around the teeth, may be a sign of a gum inflammation or a gum infection, known as gingivitis. Gingivitis occurs when bacteria collect between the teeth and the gum line and set up an infection. Gingivitis needs to be evaluated and treated, because it can lead, over time, to damage to the teeth or even to tooth loss. Your dentist will be able to evaluate whether or not you have gingivitis and will help you figure out what to do next. Most of the time, gingivitis is treated with better attention to good oral hygiene, indcluding more frequent brushing and flossing. Deep cleansing of the gum tissue and teeth in your dentists office can also help. Occasionally more invasive techniques are also used, but these are reserved for the most severe cases. Go see your dentist as soon as possible.
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