Why do gums turn white

Gum and oral mucosal discomfort

The Oral mucosa is exposed to aggressive influences such as hot spices and hot and cold liquids every day. These are neutralized by the protective layer of saliva and a healthy oral flora, although this protection is incomplete. Bacteria and viruses in particular attack the mucous membrane, as do prostheses and braces and the very hot pipe smoke. Fungi, on the other hand, are regular guests in the oral cavity in small quantities and only become a problem when the immune system is weakened. Then they begin to multiply and form whitish coatings on the cheek mucosa and tongue.

In addition, the oral cavity is often also affected by internal diseases, e.g. B. in inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, various forms of anemia (anemia), disorders of the immune system, diabetes and leukemia. Many allergies and skin diseases also leave their marks in the mouth - from torn corners of the mouth in neurodermatitis to bloody blisters in erythema exudativum multiforme.

Symptoms, their causes, measures and self-help

  • Uneven, possibly whitish zone in the cheek mucosa where the teeth meet

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  • White, quark-like coatings on the cheek mucosa and tongue, bleeding when removed; if the infection is severe, pain when eating and drinking

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  • Mucosal wounds, often repeated in the same place

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  • Individual painful small ulcers with a light center and red border; on cheeks, gums and / or tongue; possibly recurring in spurts

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  • Painful blisters and ulcers with fever; mostly salivation, sour halitosis; possibly swollen lymph nodes in the angle of the jaw

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  • Painful blisters and bleeding ulcers with fever; Skin rash, possibly days after the appearance of the changes in the mouth; often joint pain

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  • Blisters and ulcers in the mouth, later also on the outer skin

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  • Blue and white stripes (Wickham stripes) or burning ulcers; mostly itchy rash; thrust-like course

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  • Demarcated, painful redness and swelling; often fever, chills

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  • Moderately painful redness and swelling of large areas of the lining or the entire mouth; possibly with ulcers

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  • Reddening of larger areas of the mucous membrane or of the entire mouth; Burning, tingling and / or numbness

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  • Painless redness and swelling of the gums; frequent bleeding gums; often bad breath; possibly loose or displaced teeth

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  • Painless, usually pronounced swelling of the gums

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  • Persistent ulcers or growths; initially no further complaints; later possibly pain, bad breath, bloody saliva; often with heavy smokers or schnapps drinkers

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Uneven, possibly whitish zone in the cheek mucosa where the teeth meet

Root cause:

  • Impression line, callus as a result of frequent biting

Activities:

  • Mostly harmless, does not need treatment
  • Point this out at your next visit to the dentist

White, quark-like coatings on the cheek mucosa and tongue, bleeding when removed; if the infection is severe, pain when eating and drinking

Causes:

Oral thrush (mouth fungus), e.g. B. at

  • Infants, but also very old people
  • Ill-fitting dentures
  • diabetes
  • Immunodeficiency (cancer and autoimmune diseases, immunosuppressive and cytostatic therapy, asthma therapy with cortisone)
  • Prolonged use of antibiotics

Measure:

  • The next day to the family doctor or pediatrician

Note:

  • To prevent mouth fungus, asthmatics should rinse their mouths thoroughly after inhaling cortisone-containing sprays

Mucosal wounds, often repeated in the same place

Root cause:

  • Injuries from sharp tooth edges, braces and prostheses, or cheek biting

Measure:

  • If necessary to the dentist or orthodontist

Individual painful small ulcers with a light center and red border; on cheeks, gums and / or tongue; possibly recurring in spurts

Root cause:

  • Aphthous ulcers (caused by harmless viruses)

Activities:

  • Go to the pediatrician the same day if children stop drinking because of pain
  • Otherwise, see a doctor if the aphthae do not heal after 1 week (children) or 2 weeks (adults)

Self help:

  • Refrain from solid food, drink through a straw, possibly consume cooling ice cream
  • Make sure you drink enough
  • Brushing or gargling, e.g. B. with chamomile, sage, Rathania or myrrh tincture

Painful blisters and ulcers with fever; mostly salivation, sour halitosis; possibly swollen lymph nodes in the angle of the jaw

Causes:

Measure:

  • On the same day to the pediatrician or family doctor

Self help:

  • Make sure you drink enough (e.g. chilled chamomile tea or cold water), possibly with a straw
  • Brushing or gargling. z. B. with chamomile, sage, Rathania or myrrh tincture

Painful blisters and bleeding ulcers with fever; Skin rash, possibly days after the appearance of the changes in the mouth; often joint pain

Root cause:

  • Erythema exudativum multiforme (EEM; an acute inflammation of the oral mucosa with a rash)

Measure:

  • On the same day to the family doctor or dermatologist

Blisters and ulcers in the mouth, later also on the outer skin

Root cause:

Measure:

  • In the next few days to the family doctor, dermatologist or internist

Blue and white stripes (Wickham stripes) or burning ulcers; mostly itchy rash; thrust-like course

Root cause:

Measure:

  • In the next few days to the family doctor or dermatologist

Demarcated, painful redness and swelling; often fever, chills

Root cause:

Measure:

  • On the same day to the general practitioner or ENT doctor

Moderately painful redness and swelling of large areas of the lining or the entire mouth; possibly with ulcers

Causes:

  • Hot or spicy foods and drinks
  • Deficiency in iron, vitamin C (scurvy) or vitamin B

Measure:

  • To the family doctor or ENT doctor if the symptoms persist for more than a week

Self help:

  • Refrain from spicy and hot food, smoking and alcohol
  • Mouthwashes with tincture of chamomile, sage or myrrh

Reddening of larger areas of the mucous membrane or of the entire mouth; Burning, tingling and / or numbness

Root cause:

Measure:

  • To the house doctor or ENT doctor if the symptoms persist for more than a week

Self help:


Painless redness and swelling of the gums; frequent bleeding gums; often bad breath; possibly loose or displaced teeth

Causes:

Measure:

  • In the next few weeks to the dentist if the bleeding gums persist for a long time

Self help:

  • Careful dental hygiene
  • Gum balm

Painless, usually pronounced swelling of the gums

Causes:

Measure:

  • In the next few days to the house doctor or ENT doctor if the changes do not heal within 2 weeks

Persistent ulcers or growths; initially no further complaints; later possibly pain, bad breath, bloody saliva; often with heavy smokers or schnapps drinkers

Causes:

  • Leukoplakia (white precancerous stage)
  • Erythroplakia (red precancerous stage)
  • Malignant tumor, usually spinalioma, often between the lower row of teeth and the edge of the tongue
  • Benign tumor, usually fibroma

Measure:

  • In the next few days to the house doctor or ENT doctor if the changes do not heal within 2 weeks

Your pharmacy recommends

Dental and oral care.

Careful oral hygiene helps prevent inflammation in the mouth. In addition to regularly brushing your teeth, this also includes cleaning the spaces between your teeth. Various aids are available:

  • Dental floss sticks: These ready-to-use pieces of dental floss clamped in disposable holders are particularly easy to use and can be used by children.
  • Dental floss: Waxed dental floss glides easily through narrow spaces without fraying, but the unwaxed one cleans better.
  • Interdental brushes: They can be used to better clean larger spaces between the teeth. The size of the brush must correspond to the size of the spaces between the teeth: Brushes that are too large can damage the tooth enamel and brushes that are too small are ineffective.

Mouthwashes.

Mouthwashes with essential oils such as eucalyptus, thymol, menthol, chamomile and methyl salicylate are good for the daily care of teeth and gums. They reduce the number of germs and protect the natural balance of the oral flora.

Antiseptic, i.e. antibacterially effective mouthwashes (e.g. with chlorhexidine), on the other hand, should only be used for acute inflammations or after dental surgery, and only for a maximum of 2 weeks. With prolonged use, they occasionally impair the sense of taste and discolour teeth, tongue and mucous membranes.

Note: some antiseptics contain alcohol.

Gum balm and gel.

Inflamed gums are soothed by regularly applying gum balm or gel. Agents with lidocaine or polidocanol also have a local anesthetic and analgesic effect. There are also balms, tinctures and gels with plant extracts such as sage, chamomile and myrrh, which have anti-inflammatory effects. After brushing your teeth, they are applied to the gums that have previously been dabbed dry. The mouth should not be rinsed out afterwards.

Note: Many tinctures contain alcohol.

Authors

Dr. med. Arne Schäffler; Dr. med. Brigitte Strasser-Vogel; Section "Your pharmacy recommends": Dr. med. Arne Schäffler; Sandra Göbel | last changed on at 12:30


Important note: This article has been written according to scientific standards and has been checked by medical professionals. The information communicated in this article can in no way replace professional advice in your pharmacy. The content cannot and must not be used to make independent diagnoses or to start therapy.