Pale Gums: A Serious Oral Health Condition and Its Key Causes

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Pale Gums: A Serious Oral Health Condition and Its Key Causes

Gums are made of soft skin designed to protect our teeth. They act as a tight seal around the teeth, help to support the bones, and provide a barrier to bacteria. It is important to take good care of your gums to prevent any kind of gum related problems. The health of your gums may affect your overall physical health. Most people assume that their gums are healthy.

However, according to the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, about 75% of Americans have gum disease but may not know it. Though gum disease can happen at any age, many dental professionals believe that after the age of 35, there is a higher risk of gum diseases. The common type of gum disease that most people suffer these days is pale gums. Normally the gums are light pink in color, and they can sometimes become pale. Pale gums in adults and children can be caused due to several conditions and may indicate a more serious health problem.

The number of symptoms and treatment options may vary, depending on what causes pale gums. It is important to see your doctor or dentist and discuss your symptoms in order to rule out any underlying causes. Some of the key causes of pale gums are mentioned below:


Anemia is a medical situation that occurs when you don’t have healthy red blood cells in your body. Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen to various organs and tissues of your body. People who have anemia generally have an iron deficiency which their body requires to make hemoglobin. Like other organs and tissues of your body, when your gum tissues don’t get enough oxygen, they may turn pale.

There are several causes that can trigger anemia. It is usually caused due to the deficiency of iron, folate, or vitamin b-12. Some people develop anemia as their body has trouble producing red blood cells or destroys red blood cells at a higher rate. Other causes of anemia can be liver and spleen disorders, genetic disorders, hypothyroidism, and excessive bleeding.

Having pale gums is not the only sign of anemia. Some of the key symptoms of anemia include Fatigue or weakness, pale or yellowish skin, breathing issues, unusual heartbeat, headache, dizziness, and cold hands or feet.

Treatment options for anemia depend on the underlying cause. Blood tests can be performed to check the red blood cell count and also the hemoglobin levels. The number of treatment options for anemia generally involves dietary supplements, medication, or blood transfusions.


Leukoplakia is another condition that results in changes in the portions of your gums by causing white patches. In leukoplakia, you will notice thick white patches covering your gums, tongue, and the insides of your mouth. These patches can develop anywhere in the mouth and cannot be rubbed or scrubbed off.

In many cases, this condition is the result of lifestyle habits, including smoking and chewing tobacco that consistently lead to irritation inside the mouth. In many cases, leukoplakia patches are harmless. However, when there are both white and red spots inside the mouth, it can be really dangerous as it may be a sign of mouth cancer.

If you spot any unusual spots or colors in your mouth, make certain to contact your doctor immediately. Depending on the size and location of the patches as well as individual risk factors like smoking, the doctor will monitor leukoplakia patches and suggest the best treatment option.

Tooth Extraction

Another possible condition that may lead to pale gums is tooth extraction. Yes, if you have gone through a tooth extraction procedure, you may notice that the gums near the tooth extraction area have turned white. Gums usually turn white due to the trauma of the procedure.

Pale gums after tooth extraction are a normal condition as the gums should return to their normal color after a few days of the procedure.

Teeth Whitening

Many a time, teeth-whitening procedures can also lead to pale gums. However, this may be a temporary side-effect of the chemicals used during the procedure of teeth whitening. The teeth whitening gel used for teeth whitening procedures cause gum irritation, also considered as a chemical burn similar to a sunburn.

When a chemical burn occurs, the affected area turns a little sore and white. Normally, the gums will return to their original color within a few hours of the procedure.

Oral Cancer

In some cases, white gums can indicate a more serious problem like oral cancer. Oral cancer or oral cavity cancer may spread quickly inside the mouth and may affect your gums, tongue, and the roof of your mouth. In this condition, you may spot some small, flat, and thin bumps inside the mouth that are generally white, red, or flesh-colored.

Oral cancer can be the most severe cause of white gums and needs immediate treatment to prevent the spread of malignant cells to other parts of your body. There can be delayed diagnosis as oral cancer may not be symptomatic. Therefore, it is advisable to see your dentists frequently to have a check on your oral health condition.


Menopause can also be one of the reasons for changes in gum color. Hormone fluctuations during menopause can affect the appearance of the gums. As per the American Academy of Periodontology, a small percentage of women develop menopausal gingivostomatitis, an infection in the mouth and gums.

Menopausal gingivostomatitis can turn the color of the gums either paler or darker than usual and may also cause bleeding. Apart from pale gums, the other signs or symptoms of pale gums can be changes in your sleep, mood swings, weight gain, and hot flashes.

For menopausal gingivostomatitis treatment, doctors or dentists usually suggest taking estrogen supplements.


Not taking proper care of your teeth and gums may lead to several serious conditions. Some of the vital tips for good oral health include brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing at least once a day, avoiding bad habits like smoking and chewing tobacco, eating a healthy diet, avoiding excess sugary foods and drinks, and the most important thing is visiting your dentist on a regular basis at least every six months. If you are concerned about pale gums or other changes in your mouth, it is advisable to discuss your concerns with professional dentistry like general dentistry in Roswell, Georgia. They can help to find the root cause of pale gums and recommend the proper treatment for your situation. We are one of the most reputable dental clinics in Roswell, GA. From Alpharetta, Dunwoody, and Marietta to Milton, Sandy Springs, and Woodstock, we receive patients from a wide range of areas.


1. What does it mean when you have white gums?

White gums indicate that oral health issues. White gums are caused by a variety of conditions such as Gingivitis, Anaemia, Oral candidiasis, and many others. These conditions might lead to serious problems when not treated on time. If you experienced white gums, the first thing you should schedule a visit to your dentist.

2. How do you fix pale gums?

Treatment of the pale gums depends on the underlying cause. For instance, if anemia is causing pale gums, it is usually treated by iron supplements and iron-rich diets. But, before you get the treatment, it is advisable to go for an oral examination to find the issue of the pale gums for the appropriate treatment.

3. What do unhealthy gums look like?

Unhealthy gums look red, soft, and swollen. Sometimes, when you press hard on unhealthy gums, they bleed. If you are concerned about your gums’ health, visit your dentist to treat the underlying dental condition before it worsens.

4. What are pale gums a sign of?

Pale gums can be a sign of moderate to severe oral health issues. When you notice that your gums are not light pink anymore, there might be an oral issue on the way. Usually, pale gums are a sign of;

  • Anemia
  • Leukoplakia
  • Gingivitis
  • Menopause
  • Oral Cancer
5. How can I make my gums healthy again?

You can make your gum healthy by treating the underlying cause that triggered pale/white gums. Nevertheless, here are the top oral hygiene habits to keep your gums healthy;

  • Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss your teeth every day
  • Use mouthwash after meals or snacks
  • Use a toothbrush with soft bristles
  • Go for regular dental checkups
6. What color should your gums be to be healthy?

Healthy gums look light pink and firm.

7. Do gums turn white when healing?

Yes! Sometimes once you get treatment like teeth whitening or tooth extraction, gums may turn white. This usually is due to the trauma of the surgery and will go away within a few days.

8. How can I tighten my gums naturally?

You can use warm water with salt and swish around in your mouth, which will draw out the hidden bacteria in the mouth. If you do this practice regularly, it will begin to strengthen gradually. However, you should visit your dentist when you want to tighten your gums naturally. She will suggest the best remedies upon the oral examination.

9. Why is there a painful white spot on my gums?

White spots on the gums may indicate a mild health issue that can heal with the treatment. The causes of the white spot in your gums include canker sores, oral lichen planus, oral thrush, leukoplakia, etc.

When you notice the painful spot on your gums, go for a checkup to prevent further damage to oral health.

10. Can salt water rinse heal gum infection?

Saltwater rinse is the best home remedy to keep your gums and oral health in good shape. If the gum infection is at a minor level, it can be treated with a salt water rinse. But, it is recommended to visit your dentist to get the best possible treatment for gum infection.