Dark Or Black Gums: Causes And Symptoms: The Definitive Guide For 2023

Explore the definitive 2023 guide on dark or black gums, covering causes, symptoms, and treatment options for a brighter, healthier smile.

12 min readDark or Black Gums: Causes and Symptoms

Dark gums, black gums, and mystery no more! Welcome to the definitive guide for 2023 that sheds light on the enigmatic world of dark or black gums. Often overlooked and misunderstood, gum pigmentation is a source of confusion and concern for many. But fear not! This comprehensive guide will take you on an enthralling journey through the causes and symptoms of this captivating dental phenomenon.

From genetics to lifestyle choices and beyond, we'll uncover the various factors that can influence the color of your gums. Whether you're a dental professional seeking knowledge or an individual on a quest for a healthier smile, this guide has you covered. So, buckle up and prepare to dive deep into the hidden realms of dark or black gums, as we unravel the mysteries behind these fascinating oral landscapes and help you improve your smile!

Black Gums: Overview

Before diving into the reasons behind dark gums, it is essential to have a thorough understanding of what black gums are and their characteristics. Gums are the delicate, soft tissue that encompasses and supports your teeth, providing them with added stability. When these gums deviate from their typical healthy pink color or develop blackened areas, it is often referred to as black or dark gums.

Why Are My Gums Black?

Numerous factors lead to dark or black gums, ranging from harmless natural pigmentation to serious medical conditions that necessitate prompt attention. The causes of black gums vary greatly between individuals, and the severity of the condition may also differ significantly.

In this article, we will closely examine several of the main causes behind black gums, along with their symptoms, to provide you with a better understanding of how these factors may influence the color and health of your gums.

Furthermore, we will explore possible treatment and prevention methods to help ensure that you have all the information you need to maintain optimal oral health.

12 Causes Of Black Gums (Extended Discussion)


Increased melanin production leads to darkening gums. Melanin is a natural pigment that contributes color to your skin, hair, and eyes. Those with darker skin tones are more likely to have black-colored gums due to higher melanin production levels. Dark gums due to melanin are often harmless and do not necessarily indicate an underlying dental issue.


Another cause of darkened gums is physical trauma, such as accidentally biting your cheek, sporting injuries, or dental procedures like tooth extractions. Just like bruises on the skin, the damaged blood vessels in the gums cause darkened discoloration. This change in gum color is typically temporary and should gradually heal over time, returning the gums to their normal color.


Black gums are a common side effect among smokers. The gum tissues are exposed to tobacco and nicotine when smoking, which compromises blood flow and escalates the risk of gum infection. This prolonged and constant exposure to harmful substances causes the gums to darken over time. Quitting smoking will help improve gum health and often results in the gums returning to their original color.

Eruption Hematoma

In children and adolescents, a dark gum swelling called an eruption hematoma may form before a new tooth emerges from the gum. As the tooth penetrates the gum line, blood vessels may burst, resulting in a swollen, darkened area. An eruption hematoma is typically harmless, and the gum color should return to normal once the tooth has fully emerged.


Certain medications are known to cause darkened gums. Some examples include antimalarial drugs, tricyclic antidepressants, and minocycline (an antibiotic). The gums will change color due to the interaction of chemicals in these medications with oral tissues. Consult your healthcare provider if you suspect medications to be causing your gums to darken, and discuss alternative treatment options.

Amalgam Tattoos

A dental amalgam filling, composed of a mixture of metals like silver, tin, copper, and mercury, leaves a harmless, permanent blue or black tattoo-like mark on the gum. This occurs when particles from amalgam fillings get embedded in the soft tissue during dental procedures. Amalgam tattoos are harmless and generally do not require any treatment.

Blue Nevus

A blue nevus is a benign mole-like growth on the gum that may appear blue, black, or brown. While generally harmless, it is aesthetically bothersome for some individuals. A dentist or dental specialist easily removes a blue nevus during a dental appointment, leading to improved gum appearance and color.

Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis

Also referred to as "black gum disease," this severe gum infection causes black, crater-like sores on the gums. This painful condition leads to bad breath, swollen gums, and difficulty eating. Immediate dental treatment is necessary to prevent further damage and possible tooth loss.

Oral Melanoacanthoma

This benign condition is characterized by dark, flat patches on the gums, palate, or cheeks. Oral melanoacanthoma does not typically require treatment but is removed for cosmetic reasons or if it interferes with oral hygiene.

Oral Cancer

While less common, black gums are potentially a sign of oral cancer. If you notice any unusual color changes, persistent sores, or lumps on the gums, it's crucial to consult a dentist or medical professional for a thorough evaluation and to rule out the possibility of cancer.

Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome

Peutz-Jeghers syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that causes dark pigmentation of the gums, lips, and other tissues in the mouth. It may be accompanied by gastrointestinal polyps and increased cancer risk. Treatment for Peutz-Jeghers syndrome focuses on addressing the symptoms and associated risks.

Addison’s Disease

Characterized by insufficient production of adrenal hormones, Addison’s disease may lead to darkened gums and other symptoms such as fatigue, lack of appetite, and weight loss. Treating Addison's disease typically involves hormone replacement therapy under medical supervision.

Symptoms Of Black Gums: A More In-Depth Look

Light Brown Spots Or Patches

In the early stages of gum pigmentation, you may notice light brown spots or patches forming on your gums. This is a sign that pigmentation is beginning to develop, and you should monitor it closely to see if it progresses to a darker shade.

Blue-Black Hue

In some cases, such as amalgam tattoos or blue nevus, your gums may display a blue-black hue. This is a unique coloration that should be carefully examined by your dentist for a proper diagnosis.

Red, Swollen, And Bleeding Gums

If your gums appear red, and swollen, and are prone to bleeding, particularly during brushing or flossing, this could indicate the presence of gingivitis or periodontal disease. These conditions may contribute to the development of black gums, and appropriate treatment should be sought as soon as possible.

Purple Hues

Depending on the specific cause behind your black gums, you may notice your gums presenting purple hues. This color variation might be due to certain underlying conditions or simple pigmentation issues.

Tiredness And Fatigue

One symptom that is associated with Addison's disease is a general sense of tiredness or fatigue. If you're experiencing dark gums alongside this symptom, it's essential to consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation.

Increased Thirst

Feeling more thirsty than usual may also be a symptom related to Addison's disease. If you're experiencing this alongside dark gums, seek medical advice to rule out any underlying health conditions.

Unintended Weight Loss

Dark gums combined with unintended weight loss might indicate an underlying medical condition that requires attention. It's important to consult a healthcare professional in such cases for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Lack Of Appetite

Lack of appetite is another symptom that could occur due to Addison’s disease and other underlying causes of black gums. If you're experiencing this symptom, consider speaking with a healthcare professional to address any potential health concerns.

Weakened Muscles

Weak or fatigued muscles also indicate an underlying health issue when experienced in conjunction with dark gums. Seek medical advice from a healthcare professional if you're experiencing both symptoms to determine the root cause and appropriate treatment options.

How To Treat Black Gums? Best Solutions

The appropriate treatment for dark or black gums largely depends on the underlying cause of the color change. To successfully restore your gums to their normal hue, it is essential to identify and address the root cause of the issue.

Our in-depth guide will touch upon several potential reasons for dark gums and outline the most effective treatment options for each cause.

The following are some common causes of dark gums and their respective treatments:

Smoking/Tobacco Use

Tobacco use, particularly cigarette smoking, causes dark gums due to the presence of harmful chemicals and tar in the tobacco. The melanocytes found in your gums get stimulated, leading to an increase in melanin and darker gum color.

Treatment: The best course of action is to quit smoking or using tobacco products altogether. This not only helps restore your gums' natural color but also prevents an array of other health problems associated with smoking.

Poor Oral Hygiene

A buildup of plaque and tartar often leads to dark or discolored gums. Maintaining a proper oral care routine is crucial to prevent dental issues, including black gums.

Treatment: Ensure you practice good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth at least twice daily, flossing daily, and using a dentist-recommended mouthwash. Regular dental checkups and cleaning also help in maintaining healthy gums.

Gum Disease

Gum diseases, such as gingivitis or periodontitis, lead to darkened gums due to inflammation and tissue damage.

Treatment: Treating gum disease typically involves dental intervention. Your dentist may recommend a deep cleaning procedure, scaling, root planing, or, in severe cases, surgery to eliminate the infection and restore your gum health. Maintaining proper oral hygiene and following your dentist's recommendations prevents further gum issues.


Certain medications, like minocycline or antimalarial drugs, cause gum discoloration as a side effect.

Treatment: If you suspect medications are the cause of your dark gums, consult your doctor to discuss alternative medications or treatment plans. Do not discontinue a medication without speaking with your healthcare provider.

Melanin Hyperpigmentation

Some individuals naturally have more melanin in their gums, leading to a darker color. This is particularly true for people with darker skin tones.

Treatment: Since this is a natural variation and not a medical concern, no treatment is typically necessary. However, if the dark gums impact your confidence, discuss cosmetic treatments with your dentist, such as gum bleaching or gum depigmentation.

Remember, treating black gums starts with understanding the root cause of the discoloration. Visit your dentist for a proper evaluation, diagnosis, and appropriate treatment plan to effectively address any issues and restore your gums to their natural, healthy color.

How To Prevent Black Gums

Preventing black gums may seem like a daunting task, but by following the suggested methods below, you will maintain a healthy and appealing gumline.

  1. Practice good oral hygiene: One of the best and most effective ways to prevent black gums is to maintain a consistent oral hygiene routine. This includes brushing your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, and using an antibacterial mouthwash. Ensuring that you clean your teeth and gums thoroughly will help to remove plaque and bacteria that lead to gum discoloration.
  2. Regular dental checkups and cleanings: Frequency and consistency are key when it comes to dental appointments. Visiting your dentist every six months for checkups and professional cleanings helps to identify and address potential issues before they develop into bigger problems. Dentists spot abnormal coloration changes in your gums and suggest appropriate treatment or preventive measures as needed.
  3. Avoid risk factors: There are certain lifestyle choices and habits that contribute to black gums, including smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and poor nutrition. Quitting smoking, limiting your alcohol intake, and maintaining a well-balanced diet full of essential vitamins and minerals help prevent black gums and promote overall oral health.
  4. Monitor your gum health: Keep an eye on your gums and check for any noticeable changes, such as darkening or bleeding. Awareness of any shifts in color or texture helps you take action sooner rather than later, preventing minor issues from escalating.

By implementing these prevention methods, you'll be well on your way to safeguarding your gums from blackening and promoting better oral health overall.

Now that you know how to prevent black gums, let’s finish out by answering some of your most pressing questions so you can tackle your condition without fear or doubts.

Can You Diagnose The Cause Of Black Gums?

Although this guide focuses on black dots on teeth, related issues like black gums may also be a cause for concern. To diagnose the cause of black gums, it's essential to consult a qualified dental professional or physician who will carry out a thorough examination and appropriate testing if needed. They will look for any signs of gum inflammation, infection, or other potential causes before making a diagnosis and recommending a course of action.

Can Smoking Cause Black Gums?

Yes, smoking is known to cause discoloration and an increased risk of gum disease, which leads to black gums. The harmful chemicals found in tobacco products damage gum tissue, reduce blood flow to the gums and impair the body's ability to fight off infections. Over time, these factors contribute to the development of black gums, as well as other health issues.

Are Black Gums Dangerous?

Black gums indicate harmless pigmentation or a potentially serious underlying medical condition. It is important to consult with a dental or medical professional if you notice any changes in your gum color. In some cases, black gums may be caused by a benign condition called melanin pigmentation, which poses no health risk. However, black gums are also a sign of gum disease or oral cancer, both of which require prompt attention and treatment.

Is It Normal To Have Black Gums?

For some individuals, particularly those with darker skin tones, having black gums is a normal part of their genetics and natural pigmentation. Melanocytes, the cells responsible for producing melanin, are present in the gums and may be more prominent in certain individuals, leading to black or darker gums. This often poses no health concerns and is simply a cosmetic factor. However, sudden changes in gum color or the appearance of black spots and patches should always be evaluated by a dental professional to rule out any potential health risks.

What Drugs Cause Black Gums?

Several medications have been linked to the appearance of black or darkened gums. Antimalarial drugs, tricyclic antidepressants, and minocycline (an antibiotic used to treat acne and other bacterial infections) are some examples of medications that cause this change in gum color.

It is essential to discuss any medication-related concerns with your healthcare providers, who help determine if the drugs are the root cause of darkened gums and suggest appropriate solutions or alternatives.

How Can I Make My Gums Pink Again?

To restore the healthy, pink color of your gums, consider the following steps:

  1. Improve your oral health routine by brushing twice daily for at least two minutes, flossing daily, and using a medicated or fluoride mouthwash. Don't forget to brush your tongue, as bacteria also accumulate there.
  2. Quit smoking or using tobacco products, as these habits will adversely affect your gum health and color.
  3. Consult your dentist for a thorough dental examination and cleaning, as well as any necessary treatments for gum infections, inflammation, or other dental issues.
  4. Stay hydrated and maintain a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin C and calcium, which support strong teeth and gums.

Can Black Gums Go Back To Normal?

Black gums often return to their normal color once the underlying cause has been addressed. It is crucial to consult with a dental professional to identify the specific cause of your black gums, as the appropriate treatment will depend on the root issue. Dental treatments, lifestyle changes, or modifications to medications may be necessary to restore your gums to their healthy, pink color.

Do Dark Gums Go Away?

Dark gums may indeed fade or vanish entirely, depending on the nature of their cause. With appropriate intervention, such as improved oral hygiene habits, dental care, or adjustments to medications, the color of darkened gums is reversed. However, it is essential to note that some underlying causes may be irreversible or may require more advanced treatment procedures.

Can I Treat Black Gums At Home?

While at-home teeth whitening or natural teeth whitening techniques may help improve gum color, it is crucial to consult with a dental professional to identify the cause of black gums and receive the most suitable treatment for your condition. In some cases, professional dental care and tailored treatment plans may be necessary to address blackened gums effectively.

Furthermore, a preventative approach is key to maintaining a healthy smile, so ensure that you follow a comprehensive oral hygiene routine and address concerns like black lines on teeth, black stains on teeth, and black triangles between teeth with the help of dental consultations.

If you are worried about darkened gums or other dental issues, consult with a dental professional to ensure appropriate care and treatment. Remember, the proper measures for maintaining your oral health and addressing any issues like black gums vary significantly based on the root cause. It cannot be stressed enough that consulting with a dental professional is the optimal course of action if you're facing any concerns about your oral health or appearance.

Our guide emphasizes the importance of open communication with your dentist, as they are the experts who provide personalized advice and solutions tailored specifically to your case. A trustworthy dental professional will always have your best interests in mind and ensure that you're taking the necessary steps to keep your teeth and gums in optimal condition.