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Gum Diseases

DARK COLORED GUMS

11/06/2005

Question:

MY 7 YR OLD HAS DARK COLORED GUMS AT THE BOTTOM. WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

Answer:

Pigmentation of the gums (dark color seen at the gingiva) is generally physiological (normal) depending on the person's race. African Americans present more pigmentation, thus gums may have a darker color, especially in some areas. This is generally seen symmetrically (present both in right and left sites).

Sometimes, darker color may happen due to a foreign body. It generally occurs due to amalgam restoration materials staying around following tooth extraction, etc. [It looks like a tattoo.]

And sometimes, they may be related to a local pathology affecting melanin-releasing cells [very similar to what we experience on skin].

It may also be related to systemic health problems, especially related to blood cells.  Thus, I recommend you visit a pedodontist (dentist with a speciality in children's oral health) if you do not have African American, Mediterranean, Asian, etc. background and/or if the color changes are newly noticed and/or if the color change is not symmetrical.

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Response by:

Binnaz   Leblebicioglu, DDS, MS, PhD Binnaz Leblebicioglu, DDS, MS, PhD
Associate Professor of Periodontology
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University