Have you ever looked in the mirror and seen blotchy purple spots along your gum line? If so, you’re not alone—many of us have these purple gums and don’t even realize it! Here’s what they mean, why they’re perfectly normal, and how to make sure that you take care of them the right way.
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What Are They?
Gum tissue can turn purple due to a number of factors, and while it may be alarming at first, there is no need for concern. Purple gums are just a natural variation in color and should not be indicative of any health problem. There are a number of reasons why your gum tissue might have taken on a purple hue, including the following:
- You recently brushed your teeth
- You’ve been drinking red wine or taking certain medications
What Causes Them?
The purple color in the gumline is most often a sign of inflammation, known as gingivitis. This can be caused by a number of things, such as poor oral hygiene, an aging mouth, and smoking. Although it’s not an indication that you have cancer or some other serious disease, it can cause discomfort and make your teeth more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. Treatments for purple gums include brushing and flossing twice daily, applying fluoride toothpaste, visiting your dentist for a professional cleaning every six months, or using an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen.
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How Do I Get Rid Of Them?
The most common reason for purple gums is a condition called lichen planus, which is an autoimmune disease. Lichen planus can be triggered by environmental factors such as stress, hormonal changes, and certain medications. Lichen planus typically only affects the area around the mouth, including the gums and cheeks (though it can also affect other parts of the body). If you notice that your purple spots have started appearing after a recent lifestyle change or illness has started, then it’s likely that you have lichen planus.
What Else Can I Do To Keep My Gums Healthy?
The first thing you can do is make sure that you are brushing your teeth twice a day with toothpaste. Along with brushing, be sure to floss every night before bed. You should also visit your dentist at least twice a day for regular cleanings and checkups. If you have any other questions or concerns, please talk to your dentist!
What If My Gums Don’t Return To Normal?
If your gums don’t return to normal, or you notice any other changes in your mouth, be sure to call your dentist. Some causes for gum problems can be a buildup of plaque and tartar, which can lead to gum disease. Gum disease is preventable if you brush and floss regularly, but if left untreated it can result in bone loss around the teeth and may even cause tooth loss. If you have questions or concerns about the health of your teeth or gums, contact Dr. Davis at our Union Square office today! We offer same-day appointments Monday through Friday and we’ll work with any budget.