Racial pigmentation, also referred to as ethnic pigmentation or multifocal pigmentation, describes the variation in the appearance of skin and gums in people with darker complexions. While this variation does not carry any health risks, many people feel that darkly pigmented gums limit the self-confidence afforded by a bright white smile, leading them to seek out treatments to lighten the appearance of their gums and oral mucus membranes. However, these treatments are invasive and expensive, and they often produce undesirable side effects.
I remember I used to feel embarrassed when a person would ask me why my teeth weren’t white and I would have to tell them that they were naturally this color, said Carmen. It was frustrating and made me sad.
I hated being discriminated against because of the color of my teeth, said Johnny. I didn’t want to smile anymore. It felt like people were making fun of me.
Carmen and Johnny are not alone in their experiences with racial pigmentation, which is common in African-Americans, Latinos, and American Indians. Although many individuals fear dental procedures because of how dark their gums are, it is important for them to know that the condition does not pose a health threat.
Causes Of Discoloration:
There are many reasons for pigmentation in the mouth. It could be genetic, environmental, or oral health-related. A person’s diet can also have an effect on the color of their gums. For example, eating blueberries may turn your gums purple! Below we’ll go over some of the causes of racial pigmentation and ethnic pigmentation in the mouth.
Cosmetic Dentistry Options:
Porcelain veneers, tooth whitening, and teeth whitening trays are available for those who want to brighten their smile. Cosmetic dentistry is often an affordable option that can help you feel more comfortable with your appearance. Porcelain veneers typically last 10-15 years, but this varies depending on the type of lifestyle you lead. Teeth whitening trays tend to last between 6-8 weeks depending on how often you wear them, but they’re a less expensive option than porcelain veneers or tooth whitening treatments.
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Avoid Overstating The Problem:
Many people feel that darkly pigmented gums limit the self-confidence afforded by a bright white smile. However, racial pigmentation, ethnic pigmentation, and multifocal pigmentation in the gums and oral mucus membranes are not health threats.
Do More Research Before Seeking Treatment:
There are a few steps you should take before seeking treatment for dark gums. First, it’s important to rule out any other health conditions that may be causing the dark color. It could be anything from medication use to chronic illness. Once that is done, visit your dentist or orthodontist to talk about what treatments are available and which one would work best for you. Keep in mind that there are many factors that go into choosing a treatment, including cost, the longevity of the procedure, and your comfort level with the treatment. You should discuss all of these options with a professional before making your decision.
The Sins Of Our Fathers:
Dentists have been aware of the black teeth phenomena since at least the 1800s when one dentist claimed that the problem was caused by a lack of oxygen to the gums. And in 1908, a Hungarian scientist discovered that darkening was due to an accumulation of melanin in the gum tissue. But no matter what the cause, people with darkly pigmented gums have long been ostracized and discriminated against because they were often assumed to be heavy smokers or drinkers. In fact, during World War II Japanese-Americans were forced into internment camps because of racist fears that their darker skin color made them more likely to be spies or saboteurs.
Case Study 1 – Red Wine Stains:
There are many causes of dark gums, including smoking and ash stains. Smokers have a tendency to develop darkly pigmented gums due to the chemicals in cigarettes. This can be fixed by quitting smoking, which will lighten the color of their teeth over time. Additionally, smokers are more likely to have stained teeth because they are not brushed as often as those who do not smoke.
Case Study 2 – Coffee Stains:
Coffee stains are the most common type of teeth staining. Luckily, coffee can easily be removed by brushing your teeth with baking soda and water or denture tablets. If you are in a rush, you can use toothpaste instead of baking soda to brush your teeth. Denture tablets work because they contain abrasives that scrub away any stains on the surface of the teeth.
Case Study 3 – Smoking And Ash Stains:
When it comes to smoking and ash stains, the only way to get rid of them is with professional teeth cleaning. Oftentimes, people think that brushing their teeth or using a mouth rinse can do the trick; however, these methods are not strong enough to remove the dark stains from your gums. A dentist will have the tools necessary for removing these stubborn stains and will be able to give you back your bright white smile.