What Black Spots on Your Gums Say About Your Oral Health

Healthy gums are generally pink, and inflamed or sensitive gums are red and relatively common. You might be concerned about a spot on your gums that looks slightly different from the norm. Black or brown marks are usually harmless. However, in some cases, they indicate a health concern. An oral dental exam can give you peace of mind, but in the meantime, here's what may have caused these discolorations.


Genes determine the skin color of your lips and the mucous membrane lining of your mouth. You might naturally produce more pigment or melanin, but if the spots on your gums change in size or color or become painful, you'd do well to see a dentist.

Other Endogenous Causes

Multiple black spots appearing out of nowhere may hint at an endocrine disorder. Your dark spots could also be due to oral lichen planus. This condition is not one you catch from other people; it isn't contagious but is chronic, and a biopsy can confirm the diagnosis. Discolorations could also be due to benign oral hemangiomas resulting from capillary malformations or benign blue nevi, a type of mole. 


Rough fillings, aggressive oral hygiene practices, or an injury are all potential external causes for dark spots on gums. If bruises don't heal over a few weeks or you develop more marks, a blood clotting disorder called thrombocytopenia may be to blame. Children can also present with discoloration when they're teething and bump into furniture or fall.

Foreign Objects

When you get a dental filling, the amalgam or filling material can become stuck in nearby soft tissue, causing a stain known as an amalgam tattoo. This stain is harmless; you can ask your dentist to use a rubber dam to prevent future marks.


Smoking can cause black spots on your gums. The good news is that these marks will eventually disappear if you stop lighting up. In addition, tobacco and excessive alcohol use are major risk factors for oral cancer.

Oral Cancer

Black marks on your gums may be due to oral cancer. If you also have open sores, a persisting sore throat, and your voice sounds different, it's worth booking an appointment with your dentist to figure out what's happening. Early detection and swift action improve health outcomes.

Visit Cypress Dental in Vancouver, BC

There are many reasons why you may suddenly have black spots on your gums. Screenings at your dentist's office can tell you what you're dealing with so you can get gum disease treatment or other services to manage the issue in the best way possible. Book an appointment with Cypress Dental for excellent oral healthcare treatment in Vancouver.