White gums are commonly caused by the gum disease gingivitis, a yeast infection, or tobacco usage. Lesions in the mouth are frequently caused by tobacco, both smoked or chewed, and generally appear white. This deviation in gum color is also often seen in people with a compromised immune system. White gums should not be confused with pale pink gums, which are usually considered a healthy color. Unhealthy gums that appear white are usually not uniform in color, and white patches may be found on the inner cheek, tongue, and gums of the affected person.
Candida albicans is a form of yeast that lives in the mouth and normally does not negatively affect humans. If the yeast begins to multiply more than usual, the affected person will usually notice white lesions on her inner cheeks and tongue. These lesions may also appear on the gums and the back of the throat, but this is less common. The infection can eventually move to other parts of the body and even lead to death if it is not treated. Candidiasis is an extremely common fungal infection, however, and doctors can usually prescribe antibiotics to cure it before it worsens.
The term leukoplakia refers to undiagnosed white patches in parts of the mouth, such as the tongue and gums. White gums are often associated with smoking or chewing tobacco, and some doctors believe the spots can become cancerous. It is generally recommended that the affected person stop using tobacco and avoid anything else that can potentially irritate the gums. A person's doctor may also determine that removing the lesions from the cheeks, gums, or tongue is the best option, especially if they are cancerous or have the potential to become cancerous.
It is generally recommended to see a dentist every six months, but white gums should be brought to a health professional’s attention as soon as possible, whether it is a dentist or a doctor. Besides eliminating the use of tobacco, white gums can usually be treated with proper dental hygiene, which a dentist can give advice on. In some cases, such as a yeast infection of the mouth, antibiotics must be prescribed by a doctor to completely rid the gums of the infection. Some people, like heavy tobacco users, might need to see a dentist as often as every three months due to the effects smoking or chewing have on the teeth and mouth.