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White Spots On Gums – The Causes And Treatment

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White Spots On Gums – The Causes And Treatment

It’s normal for many people to panic as soon as they notice changes in their mouths. This could be your case as well, especially if you begin to see white patches on your gums.

White spots on your gums are enough to get you worried because different things could be causing them. The best step is to visit your dentist to get a comprehensive examination to find out what could be going on.

On very few occasions, white spots on gums could be a sign of oral cancer and this is why you shouldn’t take your doctor’s visit for granted. Here, we’ll take a look at white gums and the possible solutions available.

Possible causes of white spots on gums

There are different possible causes of this condition. If you experience white gums, you might want to be wary about any of the following causes –

  • Leukoplakia

Some parts of your gums could become white due to leukoplakia. It is sometimes responsible for the white patches that you see in the mouth and a toothbrush cannot remove these white patches. The white area can not be wiped off.

Even if leukoplakia is mostly harmless, it could be a sign of cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, any patches that occur along with red lesions tend towards being precancerous or cancerous. While doctors are not too certain about what triggers leukoplakia, one substance that may play a major part is tobacco.

  • Anemia 

This condition is characterized by a lack of red blood cells. The transportation of oxygen to every part of the body is only possible with red blood cells. There are different forms of anemia and this depends on what the underlying cause is. Anemic patients will also experience pale skin that affects the skin on their gums. The condition could then cause your gums to appear white.

  • Canker sores 
mouth ulcer treatment

Also known as mouth ulcers, canker sores refer to those lesions that show up on the gums and in other parts of the mouth. Canker sore patients will experience pain when they try to speak, eat, or drink. Some sections of your gum line could develop white spots due to canker sores but the condition will not alter the color of your entire gums. For more information on this check out this article on mouth ulcers.

  • Gingivitis 

This is a kind of gum disease affecting possibly half of adult Americans and is commonly caused by bad oral hygiene. Gingivitis can cause your gums to become swollen and red, as well as trigger gum irritation. If this condition worsens, you can develop Periodontal disease which can also result in loose teeth. If you have gingivitis you could experience bleeding whenever you floss or brush. As time passes, gingivitis can lead to white gums. 

  • Oral lichen planus 

This condition can also lead to white spots on gums, as well as other tissue in your mouth. Oral lichen planus, an autoimmune condition, can trigger symptoms such as pain, swollen gums, and bleeding. Seeing your dentist regularly is important for oral lichen planus patients. The reason is that it puts you at risk of oral cancer, oral infections, etc. 

  • Oral thrush 

Oral thrush is also referred to as candidiasis. This condition is a yeast infection characterized by sores in the mouth that look creamy-white. People with oral thrush will notice sores on the insides of their tongues and cheeks, as well as on the gums. Oral thrush is highly likely to occur in babies, as well as diabetics and older adults. 

  • Teeth whitening

You may also experience white spots on gums after teeth whitening. Professionally getting your teeth whitened could lead to a brighter or whiter look for your gums. Don’t fret about it too much as they regain their color after a while.

  • Tooth extraction

If you get your tooth extracted, you might notice that the gums around the extraction site could start to become white. There’s no need to panic as they mostly get back their color after a couple of days.

  • Oral cancer 

Oral cancer can also be characterized by white gums. You need to treat white spots on gums as an urgent case because oral cancer can spread quickly. Knowing the symptoms and signs of the condition can help you stay prepared. Oral cancer comes with symptoms like bleeding in the mouth, pain in the jaw or tongue, difficulty in swallowing or chewing food, loose teeth, mouth skin thickening, lumps or growth, prolonged mouth sores, and a sore throat. If you suspect you have any of these symptoms, visit your dentist immediately.

Treatment for white spots on gums

Before commencing treatment for white spots on gums, your doctor will need to identify the underlying cause. The line of action for each underlying cause will proceed as follows –

  • Anemia

Your dentist will recommend changes in your diet, managing chronic conditions, and administering vitamin supplements.

  • Canker sores

Usually one to two weeks is good for a minor ulcer or canker sore to heal itself but might require as long as six weeks. Your dentist will evaluate your canker sores and prescribe treatment should the condition persist. Some treatment options include painkillers, salt water rinses, cauterization, oral ointments, etc.

  • Gingivitis 

Improving your oral hygiene routine can help to treat gingivitis. Brush and floss, at least, twice daily and visit your dentist regularly. You may also require deep cleaning in severe cases.

  • Leukoplakia 

Freezing of the leukoplakia patches or taking it out with a laser/scalpel can help to treat the condition. People with leukoplakia should also steer away from tobacco.

  • Oral lichen planus 

This condition has no known cure but its symptoms can be managed. The information can be found with corticosteroids. Numbing gels can help to relieve pain while medications can be used to take care of the immune system. 

  • Oral thrush 

Antifungal medications can help to relieve oral thrush. It’s up to your dentist to decide the best medication for your situation.


The underlying cause of white gum determines the outlook of the condition. Other factors to consider are the patient’s health, as well as the form of treatment involved. White spots on gums could be an indication of serious conditions which is the more reason to visit your dentist without hesitation. To avoid complications and improve the situation, always seek early treatment.

You may also be interested in this article on White Spots on Teeth.

Kelly Hancock, RDH

Kelly is a registered dental hygienist and oral health care provider. She is passionate about oral hygiene and encourages people to achieve optimal oral health. She has been working in the dental profession for 16 years and worked in many different roles in the dental industry. Kelly is currently a pediatric dental hygienist specializing in children’s dentistry. She is committed to helping others with their oral health care issues and helping others achieve a smile they love.

This article and all advice on this website, Toothbrush Life, is intended to help people gain knowledge about general oral health topics. No articles or advice on this website are intended to replace professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or qualified healthcare provider to help you with any questions you have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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