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The Reason Why Gums May Look White

oralhealth dentalhealth dentist teeth smilePeople are worried to notice white spots on the gums. These white spots can be the result of numerous causes that may range from mild to severe health problems. The appearance of white spots may be accompanied by symptoms such as pain and discomfort.

Causes of White Spots

The following are common causes of white spots on your gums:

Canker Sores

Canker sores are also referred to as mouth ulcers and develop on the soft tissues of the mouth such as the gums and inner surfaces of the mouth. The canker sores are oval or circular in shape with characteristic red edges and a white or yellow center.

The causes of canker sores are stress, injury or irritation of oral tissues, bacteria, and dietary deficiencies. The minor canker sores are more common and will heal within a period of two weeks. Major canker sores are painful and deeper often taking up to six weeks to heal.


The cause of leukoplakia is not well-known; it is characterized by thick and white patches in the mouth. These patches cannot be scraped off when brushing.

It is thought that smoking, ill-fitting dentures, alcohol and chewing tobacco may contribute to the development of leukoplakia. The majority of leukoplakia are benign even through some incidences are pre-cancerous.

Oral Lichen Planus

Oral lichen planus is characterized by white lacy patches. This autoimmune condition will cause the inflammation of the mucous membranes in the mouth. With no cure, the condition is closely managed to prevent incidence of secondary infections and even oral cancer.

Oral lichen planus has been linked to nutritional deficiencies since people with the condition tend to avoid foods that aggravate it. Always have regular checkups with your dentist to maintain optimum oral health.

Oral Thrush

Overgrowth of Candida fungus will lead to oral thrush. The infection appears as slightly raised sores which have a creamy white appearance. Oral thrush sores have an appearance and texture similar to that of cottage cheese.

Oral thrush affects all people but is more prevalent in babies and older adults who have reduced immunity. Other people most likely to have oral thrush are people with diabetes and those using antibiotics.

Overall, treatment for white spots on your gums will be dependent on the underlying cause.

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Dr Ashley Davenport BDS MFGDP(UK)

I qualified as a dentist in 1995 and can honestly say that I have been doing a job that I love for the past 20 plus years. Most people who know me well know that dentistry is a passion for me and that if I won the lottery I would still want to have some dentistry in my life. I get huge satisfaction from treating patients and making a difference to ...

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Dr Catherine Myatt BDS MFGDP(UK)

Cath joined the practice as a dentist in 2002.  She and Ashley met on their postgraduate Vocational Training course in Birmingham when they ended up working at the same practice in West Bromwich.  When Ashley was looking for an associate at Balsall Common Dental Practice, Cath came to take the role and she has been here ever since.  In 2017 Cath...

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Last updated: December 9th, 2022

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