Dental Health, Health & Fitness

Why Are My Gums White? Understand The Possible Causes And Treatments!

Normal, healthy gums appear to be pink, light pink, brown, or black in color. Healthy gums are firm and strong and do not move while ...

by Jason Wesley

Why Are My Gums White? Understand The Possible Causes And Treatments!

Normal, healthy gums appear to be pink, light pink, brown, or black in color. Healthy gums are firm and strong and do not move while you touch them. They won’t be sensitive or bleed while brushing or flossing. Strong gums will have limited sensitivity to pain, pressure, or temperature.

Healthy gums have a smooth, curved, or scalloped appearance and they fit and fill all spaces between the teeth. They are less likely to be swollen or inflamed in their natural state. Maintaining proper oral health will help prevent gum diseases and other oral problems. Healthy gums are vital and they play a crucial role in overall oral health. Healthy and strong gums provide a protective barrier around the teeth, which helps keep them in place and protects the underlying bone and connective tissues. 

If you don’t maintain proper oral hygiene, it may result in gum infections, and ensure you pay regular visits to the dentists for checkups. White gums are not healthy and may be a sign of an underlying serious condition. White gums may indicate plaque overgrowth, overgrowth of teeth, anemia, canker sores, oral cancer, leukoplakia, or gingivitis. Most people have concerns regarding white gums and how to cure them. Firstly, consult the dentist regarding the situation and get medical help. Also, maintain good oral hygiene and follow a healthy diet to prevent white gums. 

Common Causes Of White Gums

Some common causes of white gums are;

Causes Of White Gums
  • Leukoplakia:

Leukoplakia is an oral condition, which causes the gums to turn white. The white patches caused by this condition cannot be removed with a toothbrush, and they can appear on the tongue or inside of the cheeks. Often, leukoplakia is not a serious condition and is harmless but some are precancerous. This condition is mostly caused by tobacco use. 

  • Anemia:

A lack of healthy red blood cells causes a condition called Anemia. Those blood cells are vital for moving oxygen throughout the tissue and organs of your movie. The symptoms of anemia include extreme fatigue, headaches, chest pain, weakness, or dizziness. This condition can caused by various reasons but most of the time, it is due to a lack of iron and vitamin B-12. 

  • Oral thrush:

Oral thrush, also known as candidiasis, is a yeast infection that causes creamy-white sores in the mouth. These sores can appear on the tongue, gums, or cheeks. People with diabetes, babies, and older people are most likely to get this situation. 

  • Teeth whitening:

The gums may turn white after a teeth whitening procedure. This is a temporary side effect of the chemicals used and the gums shall return to the normal color after a few hours. 

  • Canker sores:

Canker sores are mouth ulcers that are painful and develop in the mouth or gums. They can be very painful if touched or while eating and drinking. These are lesions that are typically round or oval and have a pale center with a red border. This condition can make your gums look white. 

  • Gingivitis:

Gingivitis is a bacterial infection in the gums and is often caused by poor oral hygiene. Poor brushing and flossing can cause gums to turn white and recede. It also causes other symptoms like bleeding gums, inflamed gums, and loose teeth. 

  • Tooth extraction: 

If you have recently had a tooth extraction, it may cause the gums to turn white. This may be due to the procedure and the gum shall return to its normal colour after a few days. 

  • Oral lichen planus:

It is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes lacy white patches to appear on the gums, tongue, and other tissues inside the mouth. It can result in various symptoms like gum inflammation, bleeding, and pain. 

  • Oral cancer:

White gums are often associated with oral cancer. This condition can spread quickly, and get medical help if you notice symptoms like mouth sores, bleeding, tongue or jaw pain, sore throat, loose teeth, difficulty chewing or swallowing, or lumps. 

Medical Conditions Associated With White Gums

Bacterial infections often cause oral problems, which leads to serious gum and tooth diseases. Dental plaque overgrowth causes the development of white patches on the gums, teeth, and tongue. Poor oral health paves the way for bacterial growth and infection. White gums or discolored gums cause inflammation or swelling and in extreme cases bleeding and loose teeth.

White gums are a serious condition, as it indicates an underlying oral condition. So, ensure you visit the dentist soon. White gums can also be a sign of oral cancer, and it may be hard to determine by yourself if the condition is serious. If you notice white patches in the gums or any part of the mouth, seek medical help fast. 

Diagnosis Of White Gums

The diagnosis of white gums includes checking for the following symptoms:

  • White spots or patches
  • Pain
  • Sores
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Bad breath
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding

The dentist will look for the symptoms to find the real cause of white gums to manage the condition and for effective treatment. If you notice white spots or patches on the gums, tongue, or cheeks, consult the dentist soon, as an underlying oral condition may cause it. Also, if you feel that other parts of the mouth appear thickened or hardened, it can be a symptom of white gums.       

Treatment Options For White Gums

The treatment for white gums can vary depending on their underlying cause. The dentist may prescribe antibiotics if you experience severe pain due to white gums. Leukoplakia, a condition that causes white gums, is often treated through surgery. The patches can be removed using a laser, a tool that uses heat, or a tool that uses extreme cold.

This can help eliminate white patches and destroy the cancer cells. The main treatment is improving oral hygiene, taking specific medications, and addressing nutritional deficiencies. If you notice any symptoms or your gums turning white, visit the dentist soon to get the right treatment. 

Prevention And Home Care For Healthy Gums

You can prevent and treat white gums at home by following these measures;

  • Brushing the teeth twice daily.
  • Flossing once a day.
  • Clean the tongue with a tongue scraper to eliminate bacteria and food particles.
  • Use alcohol-free mouthwashes at least once daily.
  • Avoid alcohol consumption. 
  • Quit using tobacco products.
  • Following regular dental checkups.
  • Have a balanced diet.
  • Reduce sugar intake. 

Conclusion

Normal healthy gums are pink and light pink in color, and pale or white gums can be a sign of an underlying oral problem. Understand that normal, healthy gums do not appear to be pale. So, consult the dentist and maintain proper oral hygiene to improve gum health and cure gum diseases. White gums can be caused by anemia, plaque overgrowth, overgrowth of teeth, canker sores, oral cancer, leukoplakia, gingivitis, tooth extraction, dehydration, and more.

One may not be able to determine the cause of pale gums on their own, so seek professional help to treat it effectively. Having pale or white gums can cause symptoms like pain, white patches, swelling, fatigue, sores, or bleeding. Take medications only after consulting the dentist and take preventative measures like brushing twice daily, flossing the teeth, using alcohol-free mouthwash, quitting tobacco use, following a healthy diet, cleaning the tongue, and reducing sugar intake. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What causes your gums to turn white?

Poor oral hygiene is the main reason for the gums to turn white. Pale gums may indicate serious oral problems like anemia, leukoplakia, plaque overgrowth, overgrowth of teeth, anemia, canker sores, oral cancer, or gingivitis. Consult the dentist to identify the underlying cause of white gums. 

2. Do white gums mean dehydration?

White gums can be associated with dehydration, pain, cold temperature, heart disease, or anemia. Poor intake of fluids and being dehydrated can also cause the gums to be pale. 

3. What color are unhealthy gums?

Unhealthy gums will appear to be yellow, white, bright red, blush-gray, or brown and black spots. 

4. Do healing gums turn white?

It is normal for the gums to appear white after surgery. Pale gums are normal and a part of the healing process. 

5. Does white gums mean low iron?

Often white gums can be a sign of iron deficiency or vitamin deficiency. Pale gums due to iron deficiency is a condition called anemia. 

Author

  • Jason Wesley

    Jason Wesley, DDS, is a highly skilled dentist specializing in cosmetic dentistry, renowned for his commitment to excellence and patient-centered care. With years of experience in the field, he is deeply committed to helping individuals achieve their dream smiles through personalized treatment plans tailored to their unique needs.

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