Your family dentist will do much more than just clean your teeth and remove decay. He or she will inspect the tissues inside your mouth. And, your dental professional can tell a lot about your oral health just by inspecting your gums. Gum discoloration will be noted, and this may indicate to the dentist that you have a specific oral issue. Keep reading to learn about some discoloration issues and why they occur.
Brown or Dark Red Gums
If you are a smoker, then your gums will often appear a darker shade of red and may even look brown. This is a condition called smoker's melanosis and it can be shocking to see, especially when you notice the darker color spreading to the cheeks and sometimes the tongue.
While it may appear as though your mouth is stained by the tobacco, this is not what is causing the issue. The discoloration is the result of long-term irritation of the tissues. As irritation continues over the course of many years, the cells within the gum tissues start to change. Thicker tissues are noted that have reduced blood flow.
Over time, cellular changes can lead to cancer. So, your dentist will look closely to see if there any abnormal oral growths. Raised and hard patches of tissue may require biopsy.
Also, If your dentist sees the brown tissues, he will give you advice on how to maintain your oral health by quitting smoking. When you do quit, your mouth will change from a brown color back to pink.
Pink or White Gums
Sometimes your gums will look a lot lighter than they should be. In this case, they may look pale pink or white. If the white appearance is patchy, then this may be a sign of a fungal infection that can be treated by your dentist with an oral rinse or an oral dissolving tablet.
If the gums are a uniform pale color, then this indicates that blow flow is reduced across the entirety of the tissues. Anemia is often the cause. While your dentist cannot treat this disorder, he can help you to find a general physician who can test your blood and provide iron supplementation.
If your dentist knows that you have anemia, he can also give you advice about the use of tools to encourage blood flow through the gum tissues. Massaging water flossers are a good option for this.