What Causes Yellow Gums?

What Causes Yellow Gums?

You are probably – and hopefully - used to your gums looking a lovely pink color. While their exact shade can vary, healthy gums are usually light to coral pink, although they can be pigmented, which means there are some areas which may be a slightly different shade of pink. This is known as hyperpigmentation and is usually nothing to worry about. However, there are some situations which can cause this delicate, soft tissue to become discolored. One way in which your gums might change is that they may develop either a yellow coating along the line where your teeth meet them, or a general yellow-ish hue.


Here is what you need to know about what causes yellow gums and what you can do if this happens.

Gum disease and yellow gums

Gum disease is one of the most common reasons why a patient may be experiencing yellowing gums. You may have also heard of the condition referred to as gingivitis, periodontal disease or periodontitis. This inflammatory oral condition occurs when plaque and tartar, which forms on the teeth as a result of poor brushing, begins to irritate the soft tissue of the gums. When this happens, the gums become sore, red and swollen. However, since plaque and tartar are yellowish in color, these deposits can also accumulate along the edge of the gums, causing them to look yellow.  


Gum disease is a progressive condition, so it is important that you visit your dentist as soon as you suspect you may have a problem. The earliest signs of gum disease include gums that look red, swollen and bleed when you brush your teeth. You may also notice a build-up of a white/yellow substance on the outside of your teeth, particularly near to where your teeth meet your gums.


You can help prevent gum disease by ensuring that you brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss daily and visit your dentist regularly as he/she will be able to spot the earliest signs of the condition and help you maintain your oral health. Prevention is important because, left untreated, gum disease can cause pain, deterioration of the jaw bone and even tooth loss. Many studies have also shown an irrefutable link between gum disease and the development of some serious health conditions including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Other causes of yellow gums

Although gum disease is by far the most common reason to experience yellow gums, there are some other medical causes that you should be aware of. This is because they might indicate a serious health problem that needs professional intervention by either a dentist, doctor or both.


Some of the other causes of yellow gums include:


-         A tooth abscess or cyst that requires draining.

-         Anemia. This a condition characterized by a lack of iron, folate or vitamin B12 in your blood.

-         Jaundice. This condition occurs when there is a problem with the function of your liver. It can also occur in patients with Hepatitis.

-         Oral cancer. While this is not specifically linked to yellowing of the gums, cellular changes that indicate cancer can take many forms so it is important to rule this out.


If your gums are beginning to look yellow, and an accumulation of plaque is most certainly not to blame, then you should contact us and make an appointment for a check-up with our dentist as soon as possible. Equally, if you are concerned about the general color of your gums, it is important not to ignore your worries. Our dentist will be able to undertake a thorough examination and assessment of your oral health and make any necessary recommendations.