Purple Gums Causes: Smoking, How to Get Rid, Treat

Purple gums are caused by gum disease and can be a sign of both gingivitis and periodontitis, as per research findings. Gum disease results from infection that causes inflammation. This inflammation process causes discoloration of the gums along with bleeding, bad breath, shiny gums and mouth sores. Gum disease is preventable with good oral hygiene habits and regular dental visits.
Quantum Health notes that regular dental cleanings are particularly important because dentists are able to clean areas that toothbrushes and floss cannot reach. Dentists also use a process called debridement, which completely removes tartar.

Why are my gums purple and pink?

Gums may change color and become darker at certain time normally, often under the influence of hormones. An example of this is, darkening of the gums or purple gums during pregnancy is completely normal and not something that needs to be worried about.
It is important also to visit your dentist in such cases, it’s not good to just assume. This is so because darkening of the gums, especially if it is occurring right around the teeth, may be a sign of a gum inflammation or a gum infection, resulting to the purple gum color – gingivitis in most cases.
This condition called gingivitis usually occur when bacteria collect between the teeth and the gum line and form an infection. It may need to be evaluated and treated, since it can lead to damage of the teeth or even tooth loss after a long effect.
In most cases, those conditions that cause purple gums are treated with better attention to good oral hygiene, including more frequent brushing and flossing. Deep cleansing of the gum tissue and teeth in your dentist’s office can help as well. Occasionally more invasive techniques are also used, but these are reserved for the most severe cases.

My Bottom Gums are Purple – meaning

A purple gum line can be one of the first signs of periodontal disease. It is the result of plaque and calculus getting under the gum line and causing necrosis of the tissues. Other signs would be that these teeth are sensitive when you brush or bite on something, that this area bleeds when brushing, or that you notice a bad breath. Sometimes the affected teeth with purple gums will be slightly movable.
Your dentist is right that receding gums can be normal but the purple color is not. It can be a sign of further gum disease. It can also be a sign of lead poisoning which is rare but worth mentioning if you are having any house renovations or have hobbies that expose you to lead materials.
You may benefit from a deep scaling. I see that you go every four months. I understand that you brush and floss regularly also but when there is heavy plaque or calculus under the gum line then that home care may not be enough. A deeper mechanical scaling would be indicated.
Let the dentist know if your gums are bleeding and how many teeth are affected by the purple gums

What Causes Purple Gums

One day you may see healthy pink gums in the mirror, and the next you might notice an ominous purple or brown tint creeping over them.
Brown gums or gum darkening could be completely natural based on your ethnicity or aging. But if your gums are suddenly turning purple or brown, it may be a sign that something dangerous is happening inside your mouth that requires professional attention.

Main Causes of Gums turning Purple or Brown.

In many cases, gingivitis becomes periodontitis as gum disease progresses. Gum disease is caused by bacteria that collects between the gums and teeth. These bacteria produce toxic by-products that inflame the gums. Gingivitis can lead to tooth loss. It is estimated that 75 percent of adults in the United States suffer from at least minor gingivitis.
It causes the gums to recede and deep pockets to form between the teeth and gums, which leaves more room for bacteria to grow. This condition leads to tooth loss, purple gums, chronic bad breath and altered appearance of the mouth. Aggravating factors for gum disease include poor diet and immune deficiencies.
Naturally Darker Gums
If you have naturally brown or darker gums based on your skin pigment, then you have no need to worry. Gum colour varies just like skin colour does. If you aren’t Caucasian, you may have dark brown gums or may experience spotted darkness on your gums. This can be due to an increase of melanin production in your body and is completely normal and natural.
You may also notice that your gums change colour as you grow older. If this change in colour is uniform and you don’t experience any other issues, including swollen gums, bleeding, and pain, this change in colour to purple gums may be completely natural. That being said, we always recommend that you check in with a dentist before passing a change in gum colour off as normal.
Medication & Smoking
Both medication and smoking can result in gum discoloration. One of the most common causes of oral pigmentation change is a condition called smoker’s melanises. If you have Smoker’s Melanises, your gums, cheeks, or palate may turn purple or black due to smoking or using drugs that contain nicotine.
Smoking can also lead to gum disease and oral cancer, which can result in your gums turning purple or brown. Finally, some medication can also cause your gums to change colour.
What Causes Purple Gums?
Purple gums can signal that you have gum disease (periodontal disease). As gum disease worsens, you may notice that your gums are swollen and appear to be bright red or purple. Plaque is the root cause of gum disease, at first irritating your gums and eventually causing deep infections that can destroy your tissue and bone.
It is important that you practice proper oral hygiene to avoid gum disease and see a dentist as soon as possible if you think you are suffering with the disease.
A spot that is on purple gums could also be a sign of oral malignant melanoma. You should see a medical professional as soon as possible if you have a purple spot anywhere in your mouth.

Can you get Purple Gums from Smoking

It is widely known that smoking can have a great number of adverse effects on the health of the smoker. Due to the nature by which the action of smoking is performed, it is only natural that oral health would be one of the areas most negatively affected by the act. It is very important, therefore, that a smoker take extra care of his/her mouth and teeth.

Oral Health Problems Caused By Smoking

Smoking can cause many serious problems for teeth and oral structures. The problem can be further exacerbated when proper health care is not followed. Among the most common oral problems, smokers are at an increased risk for gum disease. Smokers are four times more likely of developing this problem than non-smokers.
Smokers are at a higher risk for developing leukoplakia, leading to throat, lung, and oral cancers. It can cause the salivary glands to become inflamed and contribute to deterioration of bone structure. Smokers also have a harder time recovering from dental procedures such as periodontal treatments, dental implants, and tooth extraction. To add on that, a smoker will develop purple gums
Smoking also stains the teeth and can cause bad breath. In some smokers, the tongue can develop a condition known as black hairy tongue, due to a growth that may grow as a result of tobacco use. The condition causes the tongue to become yellow, green, black, or brown, and give the appearance of being hairy. Smokers may also lose the sensation of taste and smell.

How to Get Rid of Purple Gums

Unnatural gum discoloration is typically a sign that something’s going wrong in your mouth. The best way to avoid issues like gum disease is to brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time, floss every day, avoid sugary and acidic foods, and visit your dentist regularly. You should also avoid smoking, which can contribute to gum disease and cancer.
Finally, if you notice that your gums change colour after taking a new medication, ask your doctor for possible alternatives. If you notice that your gums have turned purple or brown, we highly suggest that you visit a doctor as soon as possible. While it could be a natural occurrence, it may also be a serious warning sign.
Brushing your teeth
Choose the right toothpaste. You might be tempted to skimp on toothpaste, but if you want to improve your gum health, you would be wise to choose a toothpaste specifically designed for it. Pay a little extra and buy a toothpaste that is specially formulated for gum health.

  • Even if you adopt the practice of brushing before meals, brushing before you go to bed is still essential.
  • Although twice a day is the bare minimum, it’s recommended that you actually brush three times a day for optimal oral health.

Brush for at least two minutes. Most people don’t brush their teeth for long enough to truly protect their tooth and gum health. Split your mouth into four quadrants: upper left, upper right, bottom left, and bottom right. Brush each quadrant for at least thirty seconds to ensure you’re brushing long enough, and hitting all parts of your mouth.
Don’t brush too often or too vigorously. Brushing more than three times a day on a regular basis, or applying too much pressure when you brush can actually damage your gums and teeth. Dentists call this toothbrush abrasion, and it can result in both receding gums and enamel deterioration that can lead to sensitive teeth.

  • The main cause is represented by the back and forth brushing with high pressure and rapid movements.
  • If you’re using an electric brush, let it do all the work. Don’t apply extra pressure of your own.

Replace your toothbrush regularly. Toothbrush bristles will wear down and become less effective with use. They can also be homes for all sorts of bacteria they find in your mouth, so you need to replace them from time to time. Dentists recommend replacing your toothbrush every three to four months, or when the bristles start spreading apart making each stroke cause more harm than good
Use any type of floss. There are a wide variety of flosses in the dental aisle at the store, from nylon to monofilament, from flavorless to mint-flavored. There isn’t a significant difference between any of these types of floss. Use whichever kind feels most comfortable for you. More important than what type of floss you use is that you actually use it regularly.
Floss at least once a day. Flossing can be uncomfortable and sometimes gross, but dentists recommend it for a reason. Some say that flossing is actually more important than brushing for maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

  • Whereas over-brushing can be damaging to your gums, over-flossing won’t cause any harm.
  • Flossing also prevents stains between your teeth. These are very difficult to remove even by the dentist.
  • It doesn’t matter when you floss — day or night, before or after meals. Just make sure you do it at least once a day.

Use proper flossing technique. The ADA provides specific instructions on how to perfect your flossing technique.

  • Use about 18 inches of floss, securing them to your fingers by winding them around the middle finger on each hand.
  • Make sure not to cut off blood circulation to your fingertips. Unwind and rewind as necessary throughout the flossing process.
  • Pinch the floss between your thumb and forefinger to stabilize.
  • Use a back-and-forth sawing motion to ease the floss between your teeth, all the way up to the gum.
  • Don’t snap the floss up hard against your gums. This can be painful, and can cause gum damage over time.

Floss through the bleeding. If you’re not a regular flosser, you’ll probably see some blood on your floss when you start back up. Don’t take this as a hint to stop flossing! Your gums are bleeding because you’re not flossing! Continuing your daily flossing will help stop the bleeding over time and improve, not hurt, your gum health.
Using mouthwash
Buy the right mouthwash. Mouthwash is an important product because you only target your teeth and gums through brushing and flossing. Mouthwash can treat the rest of your mouth — the cheeks, the tongue, and other exposed surfaces that need cleaning in order to maintain gum health. Choose a mouthwash that has the ADA’s seal of approval on the packaging.

  • Mouthwash can be seen as an oral disinfectant that eliminates a high percentage of the bacteria and plaque involved in cavities or any other dental and mucosal issues.
  • Choose therapeutic mouthwash specially formatted for gum health over cosmetic mouthwash designed for temporary breath freshening.
  • Avoid alcohol-based mouthwashes that can dry out the skin and cause lesions over time.

Make your own mouthwash. Studies have suggested that turmeric is as good at treating gum disease like gingivitis as store-bought mouthwashes.

  • Dissolve 10 mg of turmeric extract in 3.5 oz. of hot water.
  • Let the water cool down to a comfortable temperature.
  • Other natural alternatives to store-bought mouthwashes include cinnamon, fennel, ginger, lemon essential oil, tea tree oil, raw honey, and many others

Use proper mouth washing technique. Look at the packaging for specific instructions before proceeding, because mouthwashes with special formulas might have different recommendations for how long you should keep it in your mouth, or whether or not you should dilute the product.

  • If the packaging says to dilute the product, follow their instructions for doing so. Use warm water. If you feel a burning sensation or the taste is too strong, dilute it further.
  • Pour it into your mouth and swish it around your mouth vigorously for thirty to sixty seconds.
  • Gargle the mouthwash in the back of your throat for another thirty to sixty seconds.
  • Spit the mouthwash out into the sink.
  • Rinse your mouth with water.

Don’t use mouthwash immediately after brushing. Rinsing your mouth with mouthwash can actually undo some of the benefits of brushing your teeth. For best results, either use mouthwash before brushing your teeth, or at least half an hour after brushing your teeth.
Seeking medical help
Make regular appointments with a dentist. Even if you’re taking care of your oral hygiene very well at home, there are certain things like removing plaque build-up that simply can’t be done at home. You must see a dentist with professional tools for this aspect of your gum and tooth health.

  • How often you visit the dentist depends on your individual needs, but you should have your teeth and gums checked at least once a year.
  • Your dentist will advise you on when you should return for your next check-up.

Seek immediate attention if your condition requires it. There are many problems that could require professional attention, but the main symptoms for gum disease include:

  • Swollen or red gums
  • Bleeding beyond what is normal for early flossing
  • Loose teeth
  • Receding gums with pain or sensitivity
  • Chronic bad breath or bad taste in the mouth

Find a good dentist. The ADA provides a search tool for finding ADA-member dentists in your local area. They also recommend taking the following step for finding a reputable dentist in your area:

  • Ask friends, family, and co-workers for recommendations
  • Ask your doctor for a recommendation
  • If you’re moving, ask your current dentist or their staff to help you find a reputable dentist in your new area
  • If you have special needs, such as gum disease, you may need to find a specialist, like a periodontist.

How to Treat Purple Gums

Having natural pink color gums is very important for good smile. Smile looks beautiful if one has beautiful teeth with natural looking pink gums. But that is not always possible. Generally the gums color is same as the skin color. The people from the west are fair and their gum color is also pink mostly.
Treatment of the dark gums is possible. The blackness of the dark gums is merely superficial. When the outer dark colored layer is removed, the pink aesthetic looking gums appear.
Surgical method for making purple gums as natural pink:

  • The most popular effective and simple method of removing the darkness of the gums is the surgical removal of the outer layer of the gums which gives the dark colour to the gums.
  • The procedure though surgical is a painless outdoor procedure carried out under local anaesthesia.
  • In this procedure the outer layer of gum epithelium is removed with a layer of underlying connective tissue. After the removal the connective tissue which is   left to heal by secondary intention. The new epithelium which is formed is devoid of dark pigmentation.
  • The positive results can be seen within one to two days.
  • After this procedure 20 to 30% of the pigmentation returns after 5 to 6 months and then stays as such.
  • If few precautions like not exposing oneself for long hours to sunlight are observed then the gums stay pink and there is marked improvement in aesthetics.
  • This surgical procedure can be repeated if the gums again become dark and looks bad.

More references

  1. Gum changes: https://www.zocdoc.com/answers/10395/why-have-my-gums-changed-color
  2. Purple gum line: http://www.justanswer.com/dental/79pzs-purple-gum-line.html
  3. How to treat purple coloured gums: http://www.wikihow.com/Get-Pink-Gums
  4. How to make gums retain their colour: http://www.identalhub.com/article_dark-gums-can-they-be-made-natural-pink-123.aspx