Have you ever noticed a change in the color of your mouth lining, gums, or tongue? There are many different conditions that can cause a color change in your mouth; most are benign. Of course, sometimes a color change in the mouth can be a sign of something more serious. The team at ZDental would like to encourage you to check your mouth regularly for discolored spots and schedule an appointment with your dentist right away if you notice a problem. Here are some examples of discolored spots you might see:

Black Spots on the Inside of the Cheeks, Gums, or Mouth Roof

If you see a black spot anywhere inside your mouth, it is most likely harmless, but you should still keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t grow or change shape. Some benign conditions that can cause dark discolorations in the mouth include:

  • Oral Nevi, or moles that form inside the mouth
  • Smoker’s Melanosis
  • Leakage Stains from Metal Amalgam Dental Fillings
  • Blood Blisters

While these conditions are generally cosmetic and do not require treatment, a dark spot in the mouth could also be a sign of oral melanoma, a type of mouth cancer. While this diagnosis is rare, it is a cause for concern, so be sure to get any dark spots in your mouth checked by a dentist or doctor to ensure they are not cancerous.

Pale Gums and Mouth Lining

When your gums are healthy, they should be light pink in color. If they appear pale or white, it could be a sign of problems. Anemia, a lack of healthy red blood cells, is one condition that can cause pale gums. When body tissues are deprived of oxygen, they can start to turn pale, and that includes the gums and mouth lining. 

Tobacco users may also develop a condition known as Leukoplakia, in which frequent irritation leads to pale spots in the mouth. Leukoplakia is usually harmless, but it can also be a precursor to oral cancer. If you start to notice pale areas in your mouth, it’s a good idea to get them checked out just to be safe.

Tongue Discoloration

There are many reasons why the tongue may become discolored, and again, they are mostly harmless. If your tongue appears black or hairy, it’s usually caused by a buildup of dead skin cells. Improving your oral health habits and quitting tobacco will usually clear up this condition. 

If your tongue looks white, it could be an overgrowth of candida, a fungus that makes up part of your mouth biome. If candida gets out of control it can lead to a condition called thrush, which is characterized by lesions and creamy white patches on the tongue. You will need medical attention to get rid of thrush, so be sure to see your doctor right away.

If you notice a scab or lesion on your tongue that does not heal after a few weeks, it could be another sign of oral cancer, so it’s best to get it checked out immediately.

Finding a Dentist Near You

If you need a dentist in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, the team at ZDental can assist you with regular dental checkups and examine any discolored spots to ensure they aren’t problematic. We have 5 different locations to serve you, including our dental office in Bensalem. Visit our contact page to find the location that works best for you and get in touch with us to schedule your appointment today!