Black spots on gums can affect your appearance and be embarrassing, but they are not generally a cause for concern and there are many potential causes. However they are still worth investigating as in some cases they may be a sign of oral malignant melanoma which is a form of oral cancer and can be fatal. Here we will look at a range of potential causes of black gums, and how you can treat them to get them back to their natural pinkish colour.

Bruises: As the gums are darker than the rest of our bodies, bruises there can appear darker too. Small bruises on the gums could be the result of impact to the face or brushing too hard across them.

Hyper-Pigmentation: Sometimes dark spots develop in the mouth simply as a result of too much pigment. This can be a genetically inherited trait, or it can develop on its own. If this is the case however then it is not a cause for concern and if you wish to have them removed they can be with laser treatment. This is more common in those with already dark skin and the spots themselves are sometimes called ‘melanin spots’ – melanin being the name of the natural pigment.

Hardened Plaque: In some cases hardened plaque attached to the gums can cause dark patches. This hardened plaque is also known as calcucus or tartar and can also appear in many other colours. Make sure to clean your teeth and gums thoroughly and regularly to avoid this, and to visit a dentist to have it removed if it does develop – once it has appeared it can’t be removed by regular brushing or glossing. It is important to remove calcucus once it occurs – as it can also cause bad breath.

Amalgam Tattoos: So named because it appears like a tattoo, these gum discolourations are the result of particles of silver filings rooting in the soft tissue of the gums. Silver can then cause dark grey, black or blue patches of skin or gum as a result, just as silver jewellery does for some people. These are benign (harmless) but can be removed by the dentist if you find them unpleasant.

Oral Malignant Melanoma (Cancer): This form of cancer is the worst kind of skin cancer and though dark spots on the gum can sometimes indicate its existence this is rare and it is not usually found in the mouth. It is more likely for those who smoke. Normally it will appear as a single dark spot and will grow over time into a tumour. For this reason it is important to get discolourations checked as soon as possible.


  1. very helpful and correct…

  2. I have a retainer I don't wear as often as I should, and last night I wore it and woke up with a couple black spots around my gum line. Reading this article helped me realize it was only bruises and took away my fear of it being cancer.


  3. After five radiation treatments for a meningioma tumor I developed “blacked spots” on my tongue. Can you tell me if the spots are a result of the radiation?

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