Dental health is something that a lot of us don’t really consider—we brush our teeth, floss, and see a dentist. But other than when we have a toothache, not much thought is given. Every once and a while, something may occur that may force the issue, like waking up with white gums for instance.
At first, it might be disconcerting, but luckily there are a few explanations for white gums in the mouth. Luckily for you, if white gums around your teeth have become an issue for you, we’ve got some answers. We discuss how to treat and prevent white gums, and if you should see a dentist over it.
The Common Causes of White Gums
You’ve taken a look in your mouth, and noticed that your gums are kind of whitish as opposed to a healthy pink. What could have caused this? Does this mean you have a disease? Are all of your teeth going to fall out? For those with white gums, there are many causes to be considered.
The white spots and patches on your gums might just be due to simple irritation. That could be due to a broken tooth or a chemical irritation, like teeth whitening treatment or smoking.
While not incredibly common, yeast infections can occur in the mouth. This can leave white areas around the gums and the back of the throat.
Leukoplakia and Mouth Cancer
Leukoplakia is the build up of white layers on the gum tissue. While in itself, leukoplakia isn’t too dangerous, it is usually taken as a warning sign of mouth cancer.
Anemia is when your body isn’t creating a sufficient amount of red blood cells. One of the signs of anemia is your gums going pale or white.
White gums can be caused by issues surrounding the aftermath of tooth extraction. The tooth extraction can occasionally cause some of the tissue around the socket to be dead, causing it to look white.
These are the main white gum causes. Once spotted, it is very important to attempt to treat these issues as soon as possible.
How to Prevent White Gums in Mouth
Now that we’ve identified a number of the causes of white gums, now it’s time to discuss what you can do to prevent them, and possibly treat them. The best way to start is with these four good, oral health tips.
1. Brush your teeth
Brushing your teeth is a great step to keeping your gums and teeth happy and healthy. It is important to not only brush regularly, but to also make sure you are brushing properly. Use small circular motions when brushing, and be sure to hold your toothbrush so it’s head is at a 45-degree angle towards the gumline. This is the kind of technique you should always strive for.
2. Floss your teeth
Flossing can be tedious and time-consuming, but it is also very important. Flossing can get rid of the little bits of food that gets stuck in places that your toothbrush cannot reach. This is not only great for the overall health of your teeth and gums, but it can also remove the possible gum irritants that may cause those white patches on the gums.
3. Avoid smoking and chewing tobacco
Smoking and chewing tobacco are terrible for oral health in terms of teeth and gums. They can also lead to oral cancers which can have very serious consequences.
4. Avoid sugary drinks
Sugary drinks like soda should be avoided or consumed in moderation. The acid and the sugar contained within them can help erode tooth enamel and do damage to the gumline.
Following these tips can help you to prevent white gums and may even be able to get rid of the white splotches and white gums before they take hold. But at what point should you go to see a dentist?
Should I Go See a Dentist or Doctor?
A good guide is if you are worried about something, go see the doctor—or in this case, the dentist. As you can see, many of the causes of white gums are fairly harmless, and can easily be taken care of with proper oral hygiene. However, if your white gums are a sign of on-coming oral cancers, you will definitely want to take care of that as quickly as possible to minimize the spread and damage of the disease.
If you have white spots or white gums, get them checked out by a professional. At the very least, they will have suggestions on how to take care of the problem. And if the white gums turn out to be the sign of something serious, the trip may have just saved your life.
White Gums Should Be Paid Attention To
The causes of white gums can range from the mundane to the horrible, but they should be paid attention to nonetheless. They may be easily solved by bettering your oral care regimen, or you may have to see a doctor or dentist. The last thing you want is your molehill to become a mountain.
Auger, S., “White Gums: Causes And Symptoms,” Colgate Oral Care Center, http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/conditions/mouth-sores-and-infections/article/white-gums-1016
“White Gums,” Top Dentists, http://topdentists.com/learn/dental-conditions/white-gums/
Knights, K., “Anemia Gums and your Oral Health,” Colegate Oral Care Center, http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/basics/threats-to-dental-health/article/anemia-gums-and-your-oral-health-0815