Our daily oral hygiene offers us the possibility of discovering if everything is going normally, since when we brush our teeth we can detect any alteration: bleeding gums, irritation, etc.
Some of the patients consult our experts in periodontics about the appearance of white spots on gums. In this article we tell you the main causes and what to do if they appear in your mouth.
Any time you notice a change in the mouth, you may be tempted to panic. If you suddenly start to see one or several white patches on the inside of your mouth, on your gums, or on your tongue, it’s easy to worry about possible causes.
In general, such white patches on gums are benign. But, it’s always worth having any changes in your mouth checked out by a healthcare professional.
Main causes of the appearance of white spots on gums
Before reaching any conclusion, you should know that only a periodontal professional can effectively diagnose gum conditions. Therefore, it is important that you go to your appointment with the dentist with the conviction that you are on the way to solving your problem.
Alteration of bacterial plaque
Poor oral hygiene can cause the alteration of our bacterial plaque. This is a mucous film that adheres to our gums and teeth. If it is not treated in time, tartar can appear, which would cause the presence of white spots on the gums.
Do the white spots that have appeared on your gums bother you? It may be canker sores or mouth ulcers. These are recognized by having a whitish and circular appearance.
The fungus candida albicans can accumulate in your mouth if you have suffered from a weakened immune system. This condition discolors the natural tone of the gums, giving it a whitish appearance. If the white spots are found on the gums, it may be due to an advanced stage of oral candidiasis.
The appearance of white spots on the gums can be a signal from your body that warns about the lack of iron in the blood. This type of symptom is commonly accompanied by inflammation and bleeding of the gums.
It is important to know the symptoms of oral cancer: the appearance of irritations that do not go away, discomfort with no apparent origin, oral swelling, pain when swallowing and the appearance of small white spots on the gums. Before associating any of these symptoms to oral cancer, we advise against falling into this concern at first.
Oral lichen planus is thought to be a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by white gums, lichen-like patches on the gums and other linings of the mouth. While the white patches don’t cause any discomfort, they can develop into red, raised patches or open, sore spots. They can cause discomfort or other symptoms and should be checked out by a doctor or dentist.
Leukoplakia is characterized by small white patches that whiten the gums and appear on the cheeks, floor of the mouth, and tongue. They can thicken or harden over time and cannot be scraped off. Some cases of leukoplakia, such as B. nodular leukoplakia, in which white spots with red areas appear, can be a precursor to cancer. If you notice these types of lesions, see a doctor or your dentist.
Trauma and friction
According to the CDC, ill-fitting dentures, chewing cheeks, sharp tooth edges or fillings can lead to frictional keratoses, which can manifest themselves in the form of white lesions.
Smoking can also usually cause white lesions or swelling on the gums.
How do I treat white spots on gums?
That depends on the cause. If it’s a blister, you’ll see spots, sores, or white gums in larger areas of your mouth. The causes and their treatment options can be found below.
If it is a mouth ulcer, it should heal on its own within a week. To speed healing, rinse your mouth out with salt water at home and avoid sugary, spicy, or acidic foods. Severe forms of canker sores may need treatment. These include: mouthwashes, topical agents, and oral medications to reduce pain and inflammation.
However, if your white blister on your gums isn’t improving, see a dentist. He may then prescribe you oral steroids or, in severe cases, use topical solutions to cauterize and seal the ulcers.
Treatment of thrush often requires an antifungal (medicine used to treat fungal infections) which can be given in the form of: tablets, mouthwash, lozenges or as an oral antifungal to clear the candida. Warm salt water rinses can speed up the treatment.
Oral lichen planus
Oral lichen planus is usually treated with corticosteroids (hormones) to control the inflammation. These can be administered topically, orally, or injected. Your doctor may prescribe topical anesthetics to relieve pain and/or prescribe immunosuppressive medications.
Leukoplakia may need testing to make sure it is not a precancerous condition. Your dentist will take a biopsy and remove it if necessary. Your doctor can remove the leukoplakia with a scalpel, a laser, or a cryoprobe, which freezes and destroys the cells. If leukoplakia is caused by a weakened immune system, your doctor may prescribe antiviral medications.
What can I do to prevent lesions, white gums, or white blisters from developing?
- If you regularly develop benign mouth ulcers, you should use toothpastes and mouthwashes that are free of SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate).
- Practice good oral hygiene: brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day. Use a soft toothbrush and brush gently to avoid gum irritation. Clean your tongue and use mouthwash.
- Visit your dentist regularly for dental cleanings and check-ups.
- Self-Care: Reduce stress, which weakens the immune system and can contribute to white gums caused by conditions like leukoplakia.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet low in sugar. Sugar contributes to the development of Candida, which causes conditions such as oral thrush and white gums, and tooth decay to develop.
- Avoid smoking or other forms of tobacco use.
If you develop white gums, blisters, or mouth sores, if the cause is bacterial, rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash to reduce irritation and kill any bacteria that may be causing it. A mouth ulcer usually heals on its own.
Are the white spots on your gums cancer?
Probably not, but it could be. In general, white spots or white patches on gums are caused by an overgrowth of tissue called leukoplakia. The spots are thicker than their surroundings and cannot be rubbed off or easily scraped away. Usually, they are benign, but, occasionally, they can be an early marker of cancer. It’s important to get any odd white patches in the mouth checked out by a pro.
Leukoplakia can be caused by a variety factors. It can be something as simple as rubbing from ill-fitting dental appliances or a rough tooth surface causing irritation. Tobacco use or chronic alcohol abuse can also cause patches to develop. There’s even a very rare form that develops in patients with HIV.
The white patch Moved. now what?
While leukoplakia is not going to be removed with a simple scratch, what if your white spot does move about with simple scraping? If so, it may be oral thrush.
Oral thrush is a type of yeast infection called candidiasis. It is more common in people who suffer from dry mouth, which allows the yeast to overgrow, and young children and people with compromised immune systems. Unlike leukoplakia, oral thrush is generally uncomfortable, with burning or soreness. It can make eating uncomfortable if the lesions spread enough.
Your doctor or dentist can treat oral thrush with anti-fungal medication. They are readily able to diagnose it and help treat it. If dry mouth contributes to the development of thrush, consider treating the dry mouth to prevent recurrences.
Any changes in your mouth should be carefully watched and checked by your dentist. The good news is, most causes of white spots in the mouth are readily treatable.
How to prevent and reduce white spots on gums?
We have very clear and reasonable expectations for a pretty cosmetic appearance of our smile. We want to see white shiny teeth anchored in healthy pink gums. But, what if when we check the mirror, instead of white teeth, we see white spots on the gums? How can we prevent white spots from appearing and lessen any that pop up in our mouth? The answer depends on the cause of the spot!
Prevention Strategy 1: Cut Out Tobacco Use and Minimize Alcohol Use
Leukoplakia are thickened white spots on the gums that are generally benign, but occasionally become cancerous. They are often found in the mouths of tobacco users or heavy drinkers. If you thought smokeless tobacco would keep you safe from unhealthy side effects, there’s some hard truth here. Smokeless tobacco is harder on your teeth than other tobacco, and it’s strongly associated with oral cancer. Cut out or dramatically cut back on these bad habits to avoid these nasty white patches.
Leukoplakia do not move when you touch them. It’s necessary to have a dentist examine and treat these thickened white patches.
Prevention Strategy 2: Reduce Stress and Maintain a Healthy Immune System
White lacy patches can be an uncommon autoimmune condition called oral lichen planus. On of the most common causes are canker sores, which tend to erupt when you’re feeling run down and your immune system is working hard to fight off another infection (like a cold). Managing stress is important for managing all autoimmune conditions. Staying healthy will keep canker sores at bay.
If you are suffering from a breakout, you may need a doctor to prescribe a steroid to fight inflammation and aid your body in healing. Canker sores also have been thought to respond to rinses that restore pH balance to the mouth, so pH correcting rinses may be helpful supportive therapy along with doctor prescribed steroids.
Prevention Strategy 3: Cut Sugar Use and Maintain Healthy Oral pH
White patches can be oral thrush, which is more common in children, the elderly, and diabetics. Oral thrush is a fungal infection in the mouth. It happens when the oral pH is out of alignment, allowing the fungus a favorable growing environment, and when there is plenty of sugars available for the fungus to consume. Dry mouth also contributes to favorable conditions for oral thrush.
Maintaining a healthy pH and keeping your mouth moisturized can help fight off this opportunistic infection.
If oral thrush is minor, home remedies such as baking soda rinses can sometimes do the job. Otherwise, a doctor or dentist can recommend an oral anti-fungal regimen to kill the infection. This is definitely one case where prevention strategies are worth their weight in gold.
Whenever possible, take simple steps to prevent the development of white spots on the gums and enjoy your healthy smile every day.