Gum disease is a common problem in the United States, affecting approximately 42.2% of adults over 30 years old. Keeping your gums healthy is important because they help keep bacteria and food particles out of the spaces between teeth and below the gum line. When bacteria and food particles are allowed to build up, they can cause gum disease.

While gum disease is often painless in its early stages, it can cause serious problems if left untreated. In some cases, gum disease can also cause pus to develop around the teeth. One way to detect gum disease early is by observing changes in gum color.

What Color Should My Gums Be?
The color of healthy gums may vary depending on a person’s ethnicity or race, but it is usually pink. For example, darker-skinned people may have gums that appear reddish. Close to the gum line, the gums may have a slightly paler color. Healthy gum color can also depend on various factors, such as medications or illness.

What is Unhealthy Gum Color?
Disease-causing bacteria can cause inflamed gums, which can sometimes lead to bright red gums. In other cases, bacteria can cause an infection that results in white or blue colored gums. And in severe cases, the infection can cause the gums to turn black.

When Should I See a Dentist?
Some discolorations require a visit to the dentist. If the color of your gums is red, it could be a sign of gum inflammation or gingivitis. This is usually caused by plaque buildup on the gum line and can be treated by brushing and flossing regularly.

If your gums are pale in color, it could be a sign of anemia or vitamin deficiency. If your gums are purple, it could indicate heart disease.

Sometimes gum discoloration can be caused by simple things like eating certain foods or taking certain medications. For example, certain antibiotics can cause gums to appear more red or purple than usual.

Gum Disease Treatment
When you visit your dentist for a cleaning and hygiene check, they will review your medical history, examine your mouth, measure the grooves between your gums and teeth using a dental probe and take dental x-rays. If you are diagnosed with moderate to advanced gum disease, they may recommend the following treatments:

Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing are deep cleaning treatments used to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth and gums. The procedure involves using specialized instruments to clean below the gum line. This can help reduce gum inflammation and prevent further damage to the teeth and gums.