what causes a black spot on your gums

What Causes a Black Spot on Your Gums?

Have you noticed any black or dark brown spots on your gums? Changes to your gums may be a sign of a serious condition, but most cases of dark spots are benign. Understanding what causes a black spot on your gums can help you determine the action you need to take. 

No matter the cause, you should always consult your dentist when you notice any changes to your oral health. The expert staff at Lifetime Family Dental are always happy to gently examine your mouth and answer any questions you have.

What Causes a Black Spot on Your Gums?

A Melanotic Macule

A dark spot that looks like a freckle on your gums, lips, or other areas inside your mouth may be a melanotic macule. These dark spots are non-cancerous and are a result of hyperpigmentation, meaning your body is producing more melanin in that spot. Melanin is what gives your skin, including your gums, its natural shade of color. However, there are a variety of factors that can cause overall gum discoloration over time. 

Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome

An early symptom of Peutz-Jeghers syndrome is developing dark blue or dark brown freckles in your mouth or on your fingers and toes. Peutz-Jeghers is a genetic condition that may cause noncancerous polyps to develop in your gastrointestinal tract. Although these freckles and polyps are noncancerous, they can increase your risk of developing cancer. One common characteristic of Peutz-Jeghers syndrome is the appearance of freckles on the gums during childhood or adolescence that disappear during adulthood. 

Eruption Hematoma

Babies and older children commonly develop eruption hematomas during tooth development. When a baby or permanent tooth is ready to grow in, it sometimes creates a cyst on the gums. If your child injures their mouth, the cyst could fill with blood and appear purple or black. These dark spots are known as eruption hematomas, and they typically go away on their own after the tooth erupts. If the cyst does not go away or the tooth does not erupt, contact your doctor for an examination and treatment.

Blue Nevus

If the black spot on your gums looks like a flat or raised mole, it may be a blue nevus. Blue nevi are harmless and may appear blue or black. They most commonly develop during your childhood or teenage years and typically do not require treatment. 

Oral Melanoacanthoma

The appearance of several dark spots around the inside of your mouth may be a result of oral melanoacanthoma. Although the causes are unknown, this is a harmless condition that does not require treatment. These dark spots are most likely the result of an injury inside your mouth. 

Oral Cancer

Black spots on gums, open sores, swelling, and bleeding inside the mouth are all signs of oral cancer. If the black spot on your gum is cancerous, your doctor will need to do a biopsy to determine if the cancer has spread, then remove it if it hasn’t. Smoking cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and drinking alcohol excessively are all major risk factors for developing oral cancer. 

Dental Consultation in Gilbert

There are many potential causes of a black spot on your gums, but an experienced dentist can help determine exactly what’s wrong. If you have a black spot on your gums or notice any changes in a black spot that has already been diagnosed, schedule a consultation with Lifetime Family Dental. We are happy to examine your gums and answer all of your questions. Contact us today to make an appointment. 

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (12/30/2021). Photo by Simona Sergi on Unsplash