This type of a condition can affect your appearance and be embarrassing, but they are not generally a cause for concern and there are many potential causes. However they are still worth investigating as in some cases they may be a sign of oral malignant melanoma which is a form of oral cancer and can be fatal. Here we will look at a range of potential causes of black gums, and how you can treat them to get them back to their natural pinkish colour.

Black Spot on Gums Causes

Causes of black spot on gums

Black spot on gums

Dark spots on your gums can be signs of harmless or deadly conditions, depending on its nature. Some oral cancers manifest as black spots in their early stages. Serious gum disease can also lead to the existence of dark spots or formations on your teeth and gums. Always consult your dentist if you notice spots on your gums for a thorough diagnosis.

What could be the cause of black spot on gums?

Calculus

This is a hard, calcified deposit formed from hardened dental plaque, oral debris, saliva and minerals. This hard residue forms on and under the gum line, between the surface of teeth and the gum tissue. Its colour can range from yellow to black. These deposits can give the appearance of spots on the gums and are an indication of dental hygienic habits and conditions that lead to gum disease.

Proper daily flossing will prevent its build-up. If you already have calculus along your gum line, see your dentist right away. Your dentist can remove excessive calculus deposits and assess the severity of your gum disease.

Amalgam Tattoos

If you have fillings, crowns or dentures, you may develop amalgam tattoos. They are grey, blue or black spot on gums that occur when small particles of amalgam become embedded within the oral membranes. These spots remain the same size and have a regular, round and flat appearance. Even though these spots pose no dangers, certain oral cancers in their early stages resemble amalgam tattoos hence, any new spots or discoloration should be examined right away.

Malignant Melanoma

It is usually rare inside of the mouth, but in its oral form it is most often fatal. Oral melanoma begins as a small black spot on gums or anywhere within the interior of the mouth. In its early stages, it may resemble an amalgam tattoo. As the cancer progresses, its colour may be tan, dark brown or black mixed with red or grey. Its size will increase as it encompasses more of the mouth and its shape will change irregularly as it grows.

Bruises

As the gums are darker than the rest of our bodies, bruises there can appear darker too. Small bruises on the gums could be the result of impact to the face or brushing too hard across them.

Hyper-Pigmentation

Sometimes black spot on gum develop simply as a result of too much pigment. This can be a genetically inherited trait, or it can develop on its own. If this is the case however then it is not a cause for concern and if you wish to have them removed they can be with laser treatment. This is more common in those with already dark skin and the black spot on gums themselves are sometimes called ‘melanin spots’ – melanin being the name of the natural pigment.

Hardened Plaque

In some cases hardened plaque attached to the gums can cause dark patches. This hardened black spot on gum is also known as tartar and can also appear in many other colours. Make sure to clean your teeth and gums thoroughly and regularly to avoid this, and to visit a dentist to have it removed if it does develop once it has appeared it can’t be removed by regular brushing or glossing, as it can also cause bad breath.

Cigarettes and Medication

Some people may have discoloured gums from smoking cigarettes or taking certain medications such as minocycline, tricyclic antidepressants, or metal-based crown fillings. If you notice gum discoloration after you start taking a new medication, consult your doctor for possible alternatives.

Disease & Conditions

There are also other reasons for gum discoloration or black spot on gums that cause a higher concern. First is acute necrotizing periodontal disease, also referred to as black gum disease. This black discoloration of the gums is due to dead tissue, or necrosis. This is a serious health issue, with symptoms that can also include bleeding gums, strong pain, and a foul smelling mouth.

Along with improper oral care, the causes of this disease can include stress, smoking, viral infections, and HIV. If left untreated, the disease can spread to your cartilage and then bone, causing very serious health concerns. You can treat acute necrotizing periodontal disease with antibiotics or by surgically removing the dead tissue.

Warning

Those black spots on gums can also be caused by serious conditions such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis. If you have a rash on other areas of your body in addition to dark spots on your gums, seek medical attention without hesitating.

Dark Spots on Gums from Smoking

Causes of dark spot on gums

Dark spots on gums from smoking

Smoker’s melanosis is seen with the naked eye as a brown to black pigmentation of the oral tissue i.e. the gums, cheeks or palate as well as in larynx. It is most often seen in the lower labial gingiva of tobacco users. However, it is also frequently reported from genetically melanin-pigmented inhabitants and besides cigarette and pipe smokers also in chutta, bidi users and reverse smokers.

The brown to black colour is melanin. In skin, melanin prevents harmful UV-light to reach deeper, sensible parts of the tissue. If UV-light penetrates deep, some of the toxic substances due to the UV-light damage to the cells, are bound to melanin in the epithelial cells and travel with the ageing cells to the skin surface, where they are expelled from the tissue surface. In this way the melanocytes and keratinocytes together protect the tissue with melanin serving as a toxic defence- and cleaning agent.

In tobacco-users the melanocytes are stimulated to produce melanin granules and to distribute them out to the surrounding epithelial cells for further transport to the mucosal surface, like the mechanism in melanin-pigmented skin.

Causes of that black spot on gums from smoking

Smoking or the use of -containing drugs is the cause to Smoker’s melanosis. Also tar-components are known to stimulate melanocytes to melanin production, and other unknown toxic agents in tobacco may also be the cause.

These chemical agents have a polycyclic, chain-like structure. Environmental tobacco smoke from parents is causing smoker’s melanosis in their children. Swedish snuff causes a small elevation of oral melanin pigmented individuals from 3.0% to 4.7%. Nicotine tablets have shown to stimulate to melanin pigmentation of the oral mucosa.

Treatment and prognosis

The lesion usually disappears in between 3 months to 3 years in those who stop smoking. Smoker’s melanosis is a benign, normal physiological reaction, and does not develop into cancer. If it does not disappear, however, a biopsy can verify the diagnosis.

If Smoker’s melanosis is destroyed by excessive smoking resulting in black spot on gums, as in the hard palate of reverse smokers, who smoke with the glowing part of the cigarette inside the mouth for different reasons, a pale de-pigmented surface is first seen, indicating the loss of the protecting melanin.

Then a red inflammation sometimes occurs and cancer development may follow. In reverse smokers it is important to inspect regularly the areas with smoker’s melanosis to detect any melanin destruction, in order to stop smoking in time and thus prevent a cancer to develop.

Black Spot on Gums near Tooth

This condition on gums can be caused by acute necrotizing periodontal disease, bruises, hyper pigmentation, hardened plaque (near teeth), amalgam tattoos (caused when tiny pieces from a filling or cap wedge themselves into the gums), freckles, a varicose vein, a melanoma, smoking, and certain medications such as minocycline, antimalarial agents, or tricyclic antidepressants

In this case, it is very important to see your dentist as your tooth may at the risk of decaying or the whole jaw bone may be in problems. A black spot on gum that appear near a tooth may be a sign that your tooth is decaying or have some infections.

Black Spot on Gum near Wisdom Tooth

Black spots on gum causes

Dark spot on gum near tooth

Your wisdom teeth (third molars) usually start to erupt during late adolescence. Sometimes, there is not enough room for them, and they come in partially or not at all. This condition can lead to pericoronitis, inflammation of the gum surrounding the tooth. When only part of the tooth has erupted into the mouth, it can create a flap of gum tissue that easily holds food particles and debris and is a hotbed for bacteria.

Pericoronitis also can occur around a wisdom tooth that has not erupted at all and is still under the gums, causing a black spot to emerge.

Symptoms include:

  • Painful, swollen gum tissue in the area of the affected tooth, which can make it difficult to bite down comfortably without catching the swollen tissue between your teeth
  • A bad smell or taste in the mouth
  • Discharge of pus from the gum near the tooth
  • Black spot on gum

More serious symptoms include:

  • Swollen lymph nodes under your chin (the submandibular nodes)
  • Muscle spasms in the jaw
  • Swelling on the affected side of the face

Black Spot on Gums Painful

When you think of a great set of teeth and gums, you probably imagine pearly white teeth and healthy pink gums. So if you happen to notice that your gums have turned black, grey, or white, or with a black spot to name it, you may be quite concerned.

While some gum discoloration is a natural occurrence, other discoloration can be hazardous to your health and require serious attention. These may be seen with a symptom of much pain from the gum and in severe cases the general body. To some people, any oral condition is accompanied with swelling of the cheek on the affected side.

How to get rid of Dark Spots on gums

Black spots on gums causes

Dark spots on gums treatment

Gums have an essential role to play for enhancing our smile. They make our overall appearance beautiful and we all wish to have pink and healthy gums. Slightly darkening of gums tends to make us self-conscious about our face. Many a time, poor oral care and bad lifestyle leads to these conditions.

There are numerous factors which lead to darkening of gums. Knowing the condition behind the black spot on gum is the first step towards healing.

Home remedies

Sometimes, our gums turn greyish because of the accidental implantation of the silver amalgam in our gum tissue while we restore or extract teeth.  These patches are spotted by black gums around the crown, filling and dentures, and are called ‘amalgamation tattoos’ by the doctors.

These conditions have to be treated by an oral care specialist. Some of the changes in lifestyle that you’d be asked to make would include:

  • Brushing and flossing properly. At least twice a day or thrice.
  • Gargling with a mouthwash or gargling with lukewarm water added with salt. To repeat twice a day.
  • Quitting smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Following a diet which have proper vitamins, minerals and other necessary nutrients
  • Adopting method to reduce stress, for instance, yoga and meditation
  • Going to the dentist for check-ups and clean-ups at regularly intervals

How to make gums pink?

Getting pinker gums mean that you are promoting improved oral hygiene. There are some regular methods to follow in your daily routine which helps you get and maintain pink gums:

Toothpaste

You have to be wise enough to choose proper toothpaste, which is specifically designed to help you improve your gums. You might have to pay some extra bucks but you would get the desired results.

Toothbrush

Primarily, buy a toothbrush, which has American Dental Association’s seal on the package. This should be followed by some more aspects because:

  • You have to buy a toothbrush which can be easily maneuvered through your mouth to avoid getting a black spot on gums.
  • You have to avoid brushes with hard bristled, as they can increase black spot on gums further
  • You have to get a soft to medium bristled toothbrush
  • You have to make sure that the bristles have rounded tips
  • You could even opt for an electric toothbrush as they are better than the regular ones. They have the ‘rotation oscillation’ facility, which makes the bristles move back and forth at a same pack.

Brush before two meals

The conventional practice has taught us to brush after meals, but dentist suggest the opposite. They are concerned with removing the plaque which is formed on every tooth and not on food removal which we seemed to stress more on.

Use a mouthwash

Mouthwash is important because this clean-up the entire mouth and not only the teeth. They reduce bad breath and keep your tongue clean. Choose a product sealed by American Dental Association. While buying, make sure that it is formulated for gum health, and not over cosmetic for fresher breath. Also, avoid the mouthwashes with alcohol content, as they dry the skin out.

Don’t use a mouthwash immediately after brushing. This could lessen some benefits of brushing teeth hence not efficiently cabbing that black spot on gums. Use it before brushing or 1 hour after brushing.

Regular check-ups

Even if you decide to promote oral care at home, you have to keep certain things in mind, like removing plaque build-up, whitening teeth, etc. You might keep a periodical check-up routine with a dentist who would tell you the developed conditions of your oral care.

How often you’d meet a doctor would be on your own needs are preference, but having your teeth checked up once a year is necessary. Your dentist would let you know about further check-ups.

Natural remedies for black spot on gums

Green tea; It is rich in antioxidants and is known to be the elixir of healthcare. Green tea is known to treat numerous diseases. It helps you reduce darkening of gums, inflammation of gum and also destroys the bacteria which is formulated in our mouth, and is the cause of periodontal issues. Have a cup of green tea every morning to promote stronger teeth.

Aloe vera

It is famous for its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Take fresh gel from aloe vera plant for brushing your teeth. Simply take the gel and apply on your teeth. After that, take a toothbrush and spread the gel while you brush it all over. This would prevent receding of gums and heal infections, if any.

Coconut oil

It is antimicrobial in nature. It is another amazing remedy for treating our gums from receding and also the causes behind it. Take virgin coconut oil to swish your mouth after brushing teeth. It acts like a layer of protection again diseases which are caused by bacteria. This also helps you get rid of the food particles which stick in-between two teeth.

Lemon oil

It is great in treatment of black spot on gums. Has antiseptic qualities which act like an amazing antibacterial agent. Though, direct application of lemon oil isn’t recommended as it can lead to enamel corrosion. You can prepare lemon oil with added lemon with olive oil and let it blend well for a few weeks. This oil can then be used for swishing your mouth every morning. It’ll kill bacteria and prevent gums from receding. Lemon also promotes formation of tissues which can replace the damaged once.

Eucalyptus

This is an essential oil which kills germs from mouth and reduces gum diseases and tooth decay. It is anti-inflammatory in nature and reduces swelling of gums too. Take some of the oil and add water to dilute. Massage the content on your gums and repeat daily. Rinse off with water and promote growth of tissues.

Clove

Cloves act as an essential ingredient to improve oral care. Clove oil has antiseptic, anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties which stimulates the growth and repairs the damaged tissues. They act as a powerful ingredient to stop the bacterial action with frequent usage. Massage teeth with clove oil every day for improved gums.

Tea tree oil

 It can be diluted and then used for swishing of mouth. It prevents gums from receding and root damage. The oil is very strong, and cannot be used with diluting. The tea-tree oil is anti-fungal and microbial which kills the germs and reduces plaques on teeth and between teeth and gums.

Rose vinegar

Good for black spot on gums. It helps to strengthen gums and can be used for rinsing the mouth. To make this you need to add 3 ounces of rose petals and then soak them in red wine vinegar. Let the water steep for a week and then strain it. You could also add 1 tablespoon of rose vinegar to 1 cup of warm water for rinsing your mouth every day.

Salt

Using salt for oral hygiene is a quick and easy hack to get whiter teeth and better looking gums. Salt is known to feel gum diseases at bay and make them look healthier. You can also prevent gum pain with the usage of this available home ingredient.

Consume calcium

Calcium content is very important for better oral health. It makes your bones stronger and your teeth whiter. If you drink orange juice, consume yogurt, cheese, broccoli, etc. you will not have to take supplements for calcium. Vitamin D is another add on which is require for oral health. If you consume vitamin B, it will protect gums and teeth from breaking and bleeding. Other mineral good for dental hygiene is, copper, zinc, iron, potassium and iodine.

Black Spot on Gums Photos

We have looked at the possible causes of black spot on gums and how you can handle the conditions. Here we have provided you with some photos and pictures so that you can have a physical scenario of these condition that appear on the gums.

More references

  1. Black spots on gums:
  2. Black dots on gums:
  3. What causes dark spots on human gums:
  4. Smoker’s melanosis:
  5. Causes of black spot on human gum near tooth:
  6. Infection near wisdom tooth:
  7. Gum discoloration:
  8. How to treat black spots gums: