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How Do I Treat White Spots on Gums?

White spots on gums can be a sign of various conditions, from harmless canker sores to infections like oral thrush. Treatment starts with proper oral hygiene and may include antifungal medications or topical treatments. Consulting a dentist is crucial for an accurate diagnosis. Wondering what these spots mean for your oral health? Let's examine the potential causes and effective remedies together.
Cindy Quarters
Cindy Quarters

Treatment of white spots on gums depends largely on the specific cause of the problem. In some cases these are harmless and will go away on their own, but in other cases white spots on the gums can be a sign of a serious problem such as an infection or the early stages of cancer, requiring immediate attention. It is best to keep a close eye on the spots and see if they begin to heal without intervention, or if they seem to be getting worse. If you have any doubts, it is always best to have a physician look at the spots to help you to make an informed decision.

In some cases, white spots on gums show up as a side effect of tooth whitening treatments. When this happens, the spots will appear quite suddenly after the whitening treatment has been completed, due to some of the chemicals getting onto your gums. In this situation, you don’t need to do anything to treat them, and the spots should fade and disappear on their own within two or three days.

Chewing tobacco, which can cause white spots on gums.
Chewing tobacco, which can cause white spots on gums.

If you have had some type of injury to your mouth, the white spots on gums may be the result of abscesses or ulcers. These are related to infection and will usually require some type of treatment, often in the form of antibiotics. You can help to soothe irritated or infected areas by using a mild salt water solution, swirling it around in your mouth and over the injured area.

White spots on gums can also result from yeast infections such as that caused by Candida Albicans, a condition that should be brought to the attention of your physician. Fungal infections are not usually harmful but they can be a sign of an underlying problem, so it is best not to ignore them. Usually antifungal medication will resolve the problem.

Persistent white spots on gums can also be the result of leukoplakia, which is a precancerous condition that can affect the gums, cheeks, tongue, or other mouth parts. Smokers, drinkers, and those who chew tobacco are at high risk for this type of cancer, but it can affect anybody. The white spots caused by this condition may not look like much when they first start, but they can develop into a serious, life-threatening problem if ignored.

When faced with white spots on gums, especially if they persist, it is best to have them checked out by a physician or a dentist as soon as possible. Treating spots related to cancer can be difficult and may require surgery, chemotherapy, and other treatments. The sooner you identify and treat any potentially serious problem, the better your chances for a positive outcome.

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Discussion Comments

I have seen white spots on the inside of nursing babies' mouths. The pediatrician simply prescribed water on a soft washcloth to gently wipe the tongue. Also, a baby bottle with a little water washed the yeast away. If the presence of yeast is significant, the pediatrician may take a different route. Always check with your child's doctor before attempting any remedy and to ensure it is not something more serious.

A quick once over in the mirror, after brushing your teeth is a good oral health practice. Checking your gums for white spots in your mouth and other abnormalities could help with prevention.
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    • Chewing tobacco, which can cause white spots on gums.
      By: robhainer
      Chewing tobacco, which can cause white spots on gums.