Gum bleaching is how dentists would try to remove gum pigmentation in the past — the keyword there being tried. Using painful lasers, dentists would literally burn away an entire layer of the gum tissue in the hopes of getting rid of the melanocytes (which produce pigment in the gums). Unfortunately, all this did was give you black lips — temporarily, at least. Today, we have far more efficient and less damaging methods to brighten your smile, including laser treatments and home remedies. Let’s take a look at them both below.
What Causes Dark Gums?
Many people don’t realize it, but chewing tobacco and other forms of nicotine products can actually cause your teeth and gums to darken. Nicotine stains your mouth almost instantly, staining not just your teeth but also your gums and tongue. However, there are some options for gum brightening — both at home and in professional offices — that will help you return your smile back to its natural color.
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What To Do About It?
For people with dark gums, laser gum treatment offers an alternative that’s both faster and less painful. But not every gum stain is caused by melanocytes; some are caused by bacteria or other health problems. And because most at-home remedies promise results that are either slow or short-lived, they may not be worth your while. Instead, try bleaching your teeth at home using hydrogen peroxide. Keep in mind that teeth whitening is different than gum brightening – bleaching your smile can lighten staining but will likely damage your tooth enamel over time.
The Dangers Of Bleaching:
It’s not hard to see why dentists tried bleaching. It was one of the most powerful whiteners they had on hand. But, at a certain point, patients were developing gum inflammation and having trouble eating hard foods because of it. That made dentists reevaluate how they were using bleaching products — rather than treating an entire layer of gum tissue (which was where pigment caused problems) with lasers or other strong tools, it makes more sense to focus specifically on discolored areas. And that’s exactly what new gum-brightening treatments are now doing.
How Can You Prevent Dark Gums From Returning?
Preventing dark gums requires a two-pronged approach. You’ll want to be sure you’re continuing any whitening treatment your dentist or hygienist has recommended and you’ll also want to modify your habits. First and foremost, tobacco use is responsible for up to 95 percent of all gum discoloration — so stop using cigarettes, pipes, or chewing tobacco immediately. You should also talk with your dentist about how often you need to see them and how they recommend maintaining your oral health. Often there are fillings that need replaced or other procedures that can prevent future discoloration from occurring.