Black gums: a symptom of what diseases, the impact of medication, dentist advice


The color of the gums depends on many factors. Normally, they should be pink, moderately moist. Changes in their color often indicate diseases, and by their nature the dentist can make a preliminary diagnosis. Particularly anxious patients perceive the blackening of the gums. About the possible causes, symptoms, treatment and prevention, MedAboutMe will tell.

What diseases should be excluded?

Examination of the oral cavity will tell a lot about the state of health of the patient, and we are talking not only about dental diseases. In this regard, changes in the gums are considered especially informative. After all, you can always find a connection between somatic and gum disease, metabolic disorders.

Pale, literally white gums indicate anemia, a violation of trophism in the tissues, which is considered as one of the predisposing factors for the development of periodontal disease. Reddened gums are always a sign of inflammation, but what do black gums say? Dentists say that several diseases can contribute to the appearance of such symptoms, and this may also be due to medication.

It’s all about melanin

Melanin is the pigment that gives skin, hair, and eyes their color. The more melanin, the darker their color. The same rule applies to the mucous membrane. In swarthy patients, the gums are much darker than in those with fair skin, but such features are rarely evident, everything seems harmonious.

If the gums of patients have always been dark — this is not a reason for panic, this is an individual feature, but preventive examinations at the dentist are necessary. Several national diseases are known in which discoloration of the gums is one of the first symptoms.

If the gums have changed their color within a short period, this is an occasion to consult a specialist and identify the reason that led to such changes.

Bad habits

Smoking is considered the most common bad habit, and it is one of the possible causes of gum discoloration. Dentists call this condition smoker’s melanosis. Melanocytes are cells that produce melanin. Nicotine and other substances in tobacco smoke can cause melanocytes to produce more melanin than usual.

As a result, initially yellow-brown spots appear on the gums, gradually becoming darker, literally black. The inner part of the cheeks, the lower lip can also change color.

Observations of dentists show: timely quitting smoking contributes to the disappearance of spots on the gums and mucous membranes. The gums take on their original appearance, in fact, this condition is reversible.

Influence of drugs

Medications are part of the treatment for many diseases, but taking them can be associated with a number of side effects. Headache, dyspeptic disorders, dry mouth are the most common of them. Medicines can also provoke changes in the color of the gums, up to their blackening.

Medications that can cause discoloration include drugs prescribed for the treatment of acne, certain infections, such as chlamydia. Moreover, these drugs can cause not only blackening of the gums, but also the formation of areas of discolored mucosa.

If any changes in the oral mucosa occur while taking medication, you should consult with a specialist. In most cases, the doctor will recommend a replacement of the drug, and the dentist will develop a treatment strategy that allows you to get rid of unpleasant symptoms.

Serious gum disease

Serious gum disease

Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums associated with a significant increase in body temperature (above 38.5ºС), severe pain in the gums, pronounced fetid breath (halitosis), and a sharp deterioration in well-being.

Such a serious inflammation can cause a discoloration of the gums: black, gray spots and areas appear, which is associated with tissue necrosis.

Initial symptoms include bleeding gums, severe halitosis, feeling unwell, sore gums, and painful ulcers.

The treatment of pathology consists in the long-term use of antibiotics, as well as other drugs, and surgery is often required.

Addison’s disease

This disease is associated with damage to the adrenal glands, which produce various hormones. Symptoms of the disease include:

  • decrease in working capacity;
  • thirst;
  • weight loss;
  • violation or complete lack of appetite;
  • weakness.

As the disease progresses, changes in the oral cavity can also be noticed: darkening of the lips and gums. Spots also appear on various parts of the body, often on the knees, knuckles, palms and in the area of ​​​​scars.

Treatment in the dentist’s chair

Treatment in the dentist's chair

The tactics of treatment is determined strictly individually and depends on the underlying cause. If the cause is necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis and Addison’s disease, specialists from other practices are often involved: endocrinologists, immunologists, because this form of gingivitis is often associated with immunodeficiencies.

Doctors also recommend giving up bad habits, which will help normalize the color of the gums and reduce the risks of undesirable consequences associated with smoking.

Nevertheless, in some cases, surgical treatment may be necessary, that is, the removal of the affected tissue and tissue grafting from other areas of the oral cavity.


Complete oral hygiene, the use of standard and additional hygiene products, reducing the consumption of fast carbohydrates and regular visits to the dentist are the basis for the prevention of numerous oral diseases, including changes in their color.

The dentist at the reception will tell you about the rules for brushing your teeth and gums, because in case of inflammatory diseases, special methods of brushing your teeth are recommended. It is the dentist who is the best assistant in the choice of means and hygiene items.


In most cases, all cases of blackening of the gums are amenable to conservative treatment. In difficult cases, surgical treatment may be necessary, but the problem can be completely solved. Only a dentist can determine the tactics of treatment, as well as other specialists who are invited depending on what caused the blackening of the gums.

Dentists / Ed. Bazhanova N.N. 2008

Features of the morphology of the periodontal biofilm in inflammatory gum disease (chronic catarrhal gingivitis, chronic periodontitis, candida-associated periodontitis) according to electron microscopy / Ippolitov E.V., Didenko L.V., Tsarev V.N. // Clinical laboratory diagnostics 2015 T. 60 No. 12


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