Understanding and eradicating black gums

October 24, 2014

The colour of one's gums can indicate health, and unsightly black gums can signal problems in dental hygiene, diet, lifestyle or overall health status. Here are the causes of black gums and how to treat them.

Understanding and eradicating black gums

An important problem

While naturally dark gums can be attributed to heredity and one's ethnic background, unnaturally darkening gums, particularly cases that are accompanied by pain, swelling, itch or irritation, are not something to be ignored.

  • If not diagnosed properly and on time, gum discolouration can lead to serious dental problems or medical condition.

5 common causes

1. Smoking

Cigars, cigarettes, tobacco and pipe fillings can be reasons for your gum blackening. Regular smoking leaves visible traces of tar not only on the teeth, but also on the gums as seen on the blackened gums of chain smokers.

2. Alcohol

Alcohol abuse causes extreme dehydration of the mouth, making it prone to diseases while the residual sugar in alcoholic drinks leads to tooth decay and gum blackening.

3. Poor dental hygiene

Bad dental hygiene, like infrequent brushing of the teeth and gum rinsing, encourages the build-up of a substance called calculus around the gum area.

4. Poor diet

Unhealthy diet and meals with excessive amounts of preservatives, saccharine, saline and food colouring can affect oral health, manifesting in tooth decay and gum discolouration.

5. Gum disease

Untreated gingivitis gum inflammation and pain that are left untreated can lead to serious periodontitis, with swelling that results in black gums.


Black, unhealthy gums are outwardly unsightly. But far worse than loss of confidence, it can also lead to serious diseases if left unchecked. All it takes is discipline and a determination to lead a healthier lifestyle.

1. Brush teeth regularly as per dentist's instructions

  • While it's recommended to brush after regular meals, persons with sensitive gums require different dental care.
  • Reinforce brushing with a good alcohol-free dental rinse.

2. Make flossing a habit

  • Dental floss helps clean out food fragments in hard to reach areas that are often missed by a regular toothbrush.

3. Brush and clean the tongue, too

  • It's a breeding ground for bacteria and acid that can spread on the gums and induce blackening.

4. Upgrade your lifestyle

  • Quit smoking all forms of tobacco and reduce alcohol consumption while maintaining a rigid dental hygiene.
  • Stick to a healthy diet rich in calcium, iron and vitamins C and D for gums and teeth.
  • Avoid stress and ensure good air circulation in the body to strengthen immune system.
  • Oxygen is essential for the body's strong oral defence.

Persistent gum discolouration could be a sign of worse problems such as melanoma of the mouth, severe immune deficiency or intestinal disease. If you're experiencing blackening gums, be sure to check with your dentist to see what treatments are available for you.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
Close menu