It is that time of year again to salute the Red, White and Blue. July 4th , Independence Day, commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence , declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, festivals, family time, picnics, concerts, baseball games, and various other events celebrating the history of the United States. Independence Day is the national day of the United States. In celebration of this day and summer we will explore the Red, White and Blues of dentistry.
Red is a color associated with many things in our oral environment, including lips, tongue, cheeks, oral mucosa, and gums. Lets take a closer look at red gums. The color of our gums is generally described as pink, due to vascular (blood) supply, degree of keratinization of the epithelium, and lack or presence of pigment containing cells. The gums, commonly referred to gingiva, can become inflamed, swollen, and red.
The red color can be associated with increased vascularization, bleeding, mouth breathing and gingivitis (gum disease). In cases of chronic inflammation, the gums often become swollen and red. Reddened gums may not always bleed. However, if you have red gums, especially shiny red gums, this may be a sign of gum disease and you should have your oral mucosa evaluated.
White gums, as well, can be an indication of gum disease. Besides gum disease, whiteness can be caused by infection and tobacco usage. Often whiteness can be seen in fungal infections of the gums. Candida albicans is a form of yeast that lives in the mouth and normally does not affect humans. Often in immune compromised patients, the yeast multiples and the affected person will usually notice white lesions on the inner cheek, palate, and tongue. White gums can also be noticed in people using tobacco. Leukoplakia, or white patch, has the ability to become cancerous. Many different treatments are available depending on the causative agent of the white gums. If any white patches are noted in a person’s mouth, they should seek the care of a dental professional.
Not to be left out, blue gums can also be a cause of concern. Healthy gums are usually described as pink, but when the gum disease is present it can lead to a change in color. Blue gums can be a sign of bleeding, but most likely cyanosis. Cyanosis is the blue appearance of the gums due to low oxygen levels. This is a distinct sign of gum disease and possible other health complications.
As you enjoy your summer and celebrate the red, white and blue, we ask you to keep in mind your oral and systemic health. If you have noticed any discoloration in your gums do not hesitate to contact us here at River Heights Dental Care to ensure your optimum oral health