Published: Feb 27, 2019 | By: Richard Caven
Everyone loves a bright white smile, but what does it mean when your gums are white? While you typically visit the dentist for your teeth, the health of your gums is just as important for good oral hygiene. If your gums are white or puffy, it often means something is amiss with your oral health and it's essential to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis.
Healthy gums are pink in color. From simple canker sores to anemia and serious inflammatory illnesses, there are several conditions that can cause your gums to turn white.
Smoking, chewing tobacco, drinking, and basically anything that could cause irritating friction in your mouth, such as rough teeth, dentures, or uneven fillings and crowns, can lead to what is known as leukoplakia.
If you've ever seen white patches that appear on your gums, tongue, base of your mouth, and/or inside your cheeks, the medical term for those spots is leukoplakia. You cannot remove them with your toothbrush and though they are not usually painful, they may be sensitive to the touch or to certain foods, especially those that are hot or spicy. Leukoplakia on the gums tend to be thicker than the gum tissue around them. They can also harden over time.
A tooth extraction or teeth whitening process can also cause your gums to appear white. Other conditions that can cause white gums include:
The most serious cause of white gums is oral cancer, which can quickly spread. The Oral Cancer Foundation estimates that nearly 60,000 people will be diagnosed with the disease in 2019. Your dentist can check for growths, sore lumps or thickening of the skin inside the mouth. If you have a long-term sore throat or notice mouth sores that are slow to heal, be sure to schedule an appointment with your dentist ASAP.
If lifestyle changes do not eliminate white patches on your gums, report the problem to your dentist. While white gums are rarely a life threatening condition, it's always better to be safe than sorry!
There are many things you can do to prevent your gums from developing white patches. The simplest one of all is brushing 2 to 3 times per day regardless of oral health concerns. Nothing does more to prevent oral health problems then brushing your teeth on a regular basis.
Caven Dental can help discover what is causing your white gums. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and learn how to keep your gums pink and healthy.
"This was the first time that I received simple and clear explanations of what was going on and they let me make decisions on my options. State of the art equipment, customer oriented environment, and EXCELLENT value on their services."- Sewii L., SEPT 2014
"Who would have thought that getting a crown could be so easy?? Dr. Caven's in-office machine created my crown while I waited, which meant no need for a second appointment--something that I greatly appreciated! The office staff is kind, calm, efficient and accommodating--just like Dr. Caven himself."- Chace B., JUL 2014
"Dr. Caven is definitely not your average dentist; not by a LONG shot."- Anon, APR 2014